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Uber is sued by NYC drivers for alleged undercutting of their income

Uber drivers in New York prosecute the company for alleged failure to reimburse taxes it has withheld from their income. The case was filed by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a vocal critic of Uber and the driving hail industry.

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The plaintiffs want to represent a class of more than 96,000 Uber drivers in New York City who have worked for the company from 2013-2017 and who have not opted for arbitration. The lawsuit claims that during that time Uber deducted sales tax and the Black Car Fund allowance from directors. The lawsuit is requesting all that money back.

"Uber bosses rake millions while drivers struggle to feed their families," said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the Taxi Workers Alliance, in a statement. “Uber's business model depends on exploiting vulnerable employees with low wages – including by stealing the wages of the director. But time and again, when workers fight back, we even beat Uber with all their billions. & # 39;

The Black Car Fund was established under a 1999 state law to cover the medical costs of injured drivers and lost wages and charges a fee for all Uber, Lyft and traditional black car rates. Since 2013, the reimbursement has been 2.5 percent. (A recent one expose through The New York Business from Crain found that the Black Car Fund may violate state rules.)

This is not the first time that Uber has been accused of not repaying taxes deducted from drivers' income. In 2017 the company admitted that it had wrongly calculated its commissions on the basis of income including state tax, rather than before taxes. Uber said it would repay the lost income, but did not disclose how much it would be.

This time, however, the Taxi Workers Alliance says that Uber has wrongly shifted the costs of those taxes and surcharges to drivers, in addition to charging the service costs. A Uber spokesman declined to comment.

The case is specific to drivers who work in New York, but a story published by Jalopnik discovered in August that the company collected much more from drivers than is made public. The claimants also challenge the "pre-pricing" system of the company, arguing that the company allows customers to charge higher rates than reported to drivers.

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The case was presented to the federal court in Manhattan on November 6, the same day that Uber's lock-up period expires. That means early investors can decide to aggressively dump the company's shares until the end of the year. A group of driver activists in California took the opportunity to protest outside Bill Gurley's house, a Uber board member and early investor.