Uber talks about tipping

Oh Uber, always in the heat of things.

After two class-action lawsuits that ended last week between Uber and, O’Connor (California) and Yucesoy (Massachusetts); the key issues at stake in both cases being whether drivers using the Uber app should be classified as independent contractors or employees.

According to Uber, as part of the settlement, which covers all classification claims involving Uber in California and Massachusetts, the two sides agreed that:

Drivers would remain independent contractors, not employees;

  • Uber would pay $84 million to the plaintiffs. There would be a second payment of $16 million if Uber went public and their valuation increased one and a half times from their December 2015 financing valuation within the first year of an IPO;
  • Uber would provide drivers with more information about their individual rating and how it compares with their peers. Uber would also introduce a policy explaining the circumstances under which they deactivate drivers in these states from using the app; and
  • Uber would work to create a driver’s association in both states. Uber would help fund those two associations and meet them quarterly to discuss the issues that matter most to drivers.
man holding uber phone
Prathan Chorruangsak / Shutterstock.

Long exhale for Uber, right - nope. Unfortunately for Uber, the New York Times is reporting that there are still cases pending in, Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania; in addition to another case in California that is being appealed.

Nonetheless, there is no shortage of Uber drivers or want-to-be drivers. According to uber, “almost 90 percent say they chose Uber because they wanted to be their own boss”. During the court proceeding, one driver told the court, “I’ve been an employee and an employer, and I’ve also been an independent contractor. I know the difference between these things. With Uber, I’m an independent contractor. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.” As another said: “I wouldn’t even want to be an Uber employee. I would quit if they tried to make me an employee, because I value my freedom as an independent contractor too much.”

Today Uber returned to the spotlight to discuss tipping, after what I believe to be speculations the rose from those lawsuits, that Uber would start to encourage tipping.

In an email sent to it’s users, Uber said, “Tipping is not included, nor is it expected or required. In fact riders tell us that one of the things they like most about Uber is that it’s hassle-free. And that’s how we intend to keep it”.

Uber went on to say that the previous weeks settlement hadn’t changed their view when it came to tipping. “we simply agreed to “clarify [our] messaging regarding tipping … that tips are not included on Uber’s platforms (except on UberTAXI), and that tipping is neither expected nor required” within 180 days after the settlement receives final approval.

The bottom line is that uber has grown to 450,0000 drivers who are using the app, every single month. That’s amazing for a company that started only six years ago, and has been in the spotlight as much as they have.

Uber’s business model is new(ish) and governments and people are still adapting to it. However, everyone likes to control their own hours and because of that, there will never be a shortage of Uber drivers - or passengers, like myself for that matter.