Amazon settles with the Federal Trade Commission over driver wages. Independent contractors say Voice of America ignored a 2014 audit that found misclassification. Court grants class status to Uber drivers; ABC test to be applied.
Amazon settlement. In a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, Amazon will pay $61.7 million over allegations that the company used customer tips to subsidize the guaranteed hourly wages of Amazon Flex delivery drivers, Recode reported . According to the FTC, Amazon promised its drivers an hourly rate of $18 to $25 pay plus all customer tips and later shifted to a different compensation model that applied tips to the hourly wages without notifying its drivers.
ICs sue Voice of America. In a federal class action filed Thursday, Voice of America workers sued the international multimedia broadcaster for refusing to classify them as full-time employees despite working more than 40 hours a week and completing tasks outside those specified in their contracts, Courthouse News reported .
According to the lawsuit, Voice of America was made aware that its independent contractors should be classified as full-time employees following an audit conducted by the Inspector General of the Department of State in 2014.
Uber litigants given class status, wage case split off. Drivers refused to limit their minimum wage and overtime claims to the time they spent actually driving for Uber, which prevented class resolution of those substantive claims, according to an article on Wolters Kluwer Labor & Employment Law Daily .
A federal district court in California granted class status to Uber drivers who alleged that they were misclassified as independent contractors. However, the court ruled the drivers’ minimum wage, overtime, and paid sick leave claims under the California Labor Code would have to be pursued on an individual basis.
More than 4,800 drivers are participating in the case, Christopher James, et al., v. Uber Technologies Inc.  A trier of fact will apply the state’s ABC test to determine worker status. Specifically, with the class certified, the trier will evaluate the class as a whole against prongs A and B of the test for distinguishing between employees and independent contractors, as well as the expense reimbursement and itemized wage statement claims. If Uber does not satisfy either prong A or B, the class will be determined to be employees. However, if Uber satisfies both prongs A and B, individual consideration will be necessary for the third prong of the test, as well as class members’ minimum wage, overtime and sick leave.
The ABC test presumes a worker is an employee unless the following conditions are met:
(A) the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both in the terms of the contract for the performance of such work and in fact;
(B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
(C) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.