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Uber Wins at the Ninth Circuit, Tees Up Supreme Court Appeal

Posted: September 7, 2016

Today, in Mohamed v. Uber Technologies, Inc., the Ninth Circuit ruled that Uber drivers must arbitrate their labor claims individually, and cannot pursue them as a class.  See Mohamed v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 15-16178, 2016 WL 4651409 (Sept. 7, 2016 9th Cir.).  Independent contractor drivers allege that Uber violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and state statutes by running unauthorized background checks on them.  While the district court sided with Uber drivers in permitting them to bring these claims as a class due to the procedurally and substantively unconscionable arbitration clause, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling that the arbitration clause, finding that drivers could have opted out by either overnight delivery service or going in-person to Uber’s San Francisco offices.  In contrast to Lewis v. Epic Systems, where the Seventh Circuit struck down an arbitration clause that required workers to battle the employer one by one outside of court as impermissible under the National Labor Relations Act and the Federal Arbitration Act.  See Lewis v. Epic Systems Corp., 823 F.3d 1147 (7th Cir. 2016).  These two conflicting cases, and other similar cases currently pending, may tee up a Supreme Court appeal.