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Wrongfully Terminated from Uber or Lyft? Know your Rights

ridesharing driver looking at map on phone

For some New Yorkers, driving for Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company is a side gig that provides a little bit of extra income on top of their regular paycheck. For others, it is the full-time job that generates a full-time paycheck. Whether you drive for one of these companies for a few hours each week or more than full time, you have certain rights. These rights include the right to file a wrongful termination claim if your account is deactivated for an illegal reason.

Uber Driver Rules

In New York, Uber drivers are employees, not independent contractors. This is an important distinction because employees have certain rights that independent contractors do not have. One of these is the right to file a wrongful termination claim if the employee believes he or she was terminated for an illegal reason. An independent contractor can sue a client for a breach of contract that resulted in termination, but this is a different process.

For Uber drivers, terminations are known as “deactivations.” This is because when a driver is fired, his or her account is deactivated. Drivers must comply with certain rules to avoid deactivation, such as:

  • Owning and using a vehicle that meets Uber’s vehicle requirements;
  • Pass a background check;
  • Pass a driving record check;
  • Have a valid in-state driver’s license;
  • Be up to date with vehicle insurance and registration; and
  • Have in-state automobile insurance with the driver’s name on the policy.

Uber Driver Termination

Terminating a driver for failing to comply with one of the requirements listed above is perfectly acceptable. There are other reasons why a driver may be legally terminated by Uber and other rideshare services, such as:

  • Violating the company’s code of conduct;
  • Consistent low ratings by riders;
  • Allegations of misconduct by riders;
  • Driving dangerously, as reported by riders. This can mean driving under the influence, speeding, or driving aggressively;
  • Violating the company’s terms of service; and
  • Driving for the company with a party in the vehicle other than the rider, such as the driver’s spouse or friend.

Other illegal reasons to terminate a driver are the same as those for terminating any other employee, such as:

  • Terminating the driver for his or her religious beliefs;
  • Terminating the driver on the basis of his or her race, sex, national origin, or pregnancy; and
  • Terminating the driver for engaging in a protected activity, such as providing testimony to support another driver’s discrimination or wrongful termination claim.

Work with an Experienced New York Wrongful Termination Attorney

If you were terminated for an illegal reason, you have the right to take legal action to recover compensation for your related financial damages or seek reinstatement with your former employer. To learn more about this right and how to pursue a wrongful termination claim, contact our team of experienced employment lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. today to schedule your initial consultation in our office.

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