Canada: Court rules Uber’s arbitration process unlawful and “unconscionable”

Author: Jacquie McNish and Greg Bensinger, The Wall Street Journal, Published on: 7 January 2019

"Canadian Court Slams Uber’s Arbitration Process", 2 January 2019

 Uber Technologies Inc. lost some of its legal clout with contract drivers in Canada’s largest province after Ontario’s highest court ruled its process for arbitrating disputes were not only unlawful but “unconscionable.”

 A panel of three judges with the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled... that Uber was improperly forcing its drivers in the province to resolve complaints about pay or other work issues through an international mediation process in the Netherlands. Drivers disputing even small complaints face a steep cost of US$14,500 to initiate the process, the ruling said.

 “It can be safely concluded that Uber chose this arbitration clause in order to favour itself and thus take advantage of its drivers who are clearly vulnerable to the market strength of Uber,” the ruling said.

 …The decision is part of a broader legal action initiated by Toronto-based Uber driver David Heller, who is seeking class-action certification for a suit he filed in 2017 against the San Francisco-based company for allegedly denying his rights to minimum wage, overtime and vacation pay by treating him as a contractor.

 …Uber said in a statement that it is reviewing the decision and that the company is “proud to offer a flexible earning opportunity to tens of thousands of drivers throughout Ontario.” 

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Related companies: Uber