Uber And Lyft Drivers Sue New York Over Unpaid Unemployment Benefit
Uber and Lyft drivers are suing New York over unpaid unemployment benefits in a classification battle. The state identifies the workers as employees, and eligible for certain benefits, while, Uber and Lyft regard them as contractors.
“The (Department of Labor’s) failure to do so in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the difference between receiving [unemployment insurance] benefits in two weeks rather than two months can determine whether an unemployed New Yorker can put food on the table, is devastating to thousands of drivers and their families, the overwhelming majority of whom are immigrants,” the complaint reads.
The drivers allege that the lack of clarity on the difference between a contractor and an employee means there’s a delay in receiving their unemployment payments while other unemployed people get theirs within a few weeks. This leaves them unable to provide for their families.
According to the lawsuit, New York has refused to compel both Uber and Lyft to provide employee data and earnings. This means they have to prove their unemployment status dealing with huge amounts of paperwork. This makes the process tedious and leaves the drivers unable to claim the benefits.
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A spokesperson for the governor of New York, Jack Sterne said; “During this pandemic emergency, we have been moving heaven and earth to get every single unemployed New Yorker their benefits as quickly as possible — including Uber and Lyft drivers, who are treated no different than any other worker.”
Sterne claims that New York has given over $10 billion in benefits to 2 million unemployed workers since April 2020.
Uber, however, says it has shared all the data requested and Lyft says it’s willing to cooperate with the state.
“The special interests behind this lawsuit aren’t interested in what’s best for drivers, since filing this lawsuit will do nothing to help them get assistance quickly. We are working collaboratively with DOL to provide them access to earnings data and are doing everything we can to help drivers get the assistance they deserve,” said Lyft spokeswoman Julie Wood.
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