USA : Getaround start-up sends cheques attached to settlement agreements to ex-workers to defeat class action lawsuit; company denies allegations
Author: Ellen Huet, Bloomberg, Published on: 4 July 2019
"Cash This Check for $250, and Sign Away Your Right to Sue", 2 Jul 2019
The perennial issue in the gig economy is whether workers should be classified as employees. Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc. and other companies that rely on contract work have dealt with this question in a number of ways: staging PR campaigns, hiring lobbyists and arguing in court that they’re software platforms, not employers. At Getaround Inc., which helps people rent out their personal cars online, the startup is employing an uncommon legal tactic in the hope of defeating a class-action lawsuit before it starts.
As lawyers were working on one such case, Getaround preemptively sent dozens of checks to people who have worked with the company, attached to paperwork asking them to sign away their legal rights. According to a provision within the documents, depositing the money, even without signing the contract, would count as an agreement to waive their rights to sue. And almost everyone did...
A spokeswoman for Getaround said the company denies the allegations in the suit and will continue to defend itself. She wrote in an email that Getaround has a commitment to “fairly value the contributions of our employees.”