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Lyft Drivers are Forced Into Arbitration—Here’s How to Get Around It

 

Before drivers can begin working for Lyft, they are forced to agree to Lyft’s terms of service. Unfortunately, these terms appear on drivers’ smartphones in very small print. Because of this, many drivers sign without realizing that they are agreeing to arbitrate any disagreements with Lyft, and sign their legal rights to sue away. 

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What is Arbitration?

Arbitration clauses are used by companies as a way to resolve disputes outside the court system. What this means is that Lyft is able to make a private “settlement” which usually ends up in the driver having lower chances of winning and lower compensation than if it was done in a legal court.

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Keep reading below for more information.

 

Arbitrations are Confidential and Conducted in Private for the Benefit of Lyft.

These clauses ensure that the public will never hear anything about any issues with the company. Arbitrators are not public servants like judges are, but are in business for themselves. They need to continue to be hired by large companies in order to earn money. This means that they are more interested in their longterm job and less about fairness to the driver.

 

Every Case Must be Filed Individually

Lyft’s arbitration clause also does not allow for drivers to join together in class actions and each worker must file an individual claim.

 

Is there any difference between arbitration and court? 

The odds of drivers winning in arbitration are much lower than they would be in court. One study of employment arbitrations found that the employee win rate in the cases examined was 21.4%, which is lower than employee win rates in court. The study also found that the amounts awarded in arbitrations are substantially lower than awards in employment cases in court.(1)

 

So, how do you Preserve your Legal Rights?

You can still preserve your right to sue in court with a judge and jury if you quickly opt out of the arbitration clause. Drivers can opt out of Lyft agreement’s arbitration clause when it is presented to them if they have not previously agreed to the terms, or if Lyft made any changes to the arbitration clause.

Lyft must be notified in writing of the decision to opt out of arbitration within 30 days of signing up for the opt out to be valid.

 

How do you Opt Out of Arbitration? 

The writing (on paper) must clearly indicate the intent to opt out of the arbitration agreement with respect to claims that are not part of a pending settlement action.

The writing must also include the name, phone number, and email address associated with the driver’s account, as well as their signature and the date. Importantly, the writing must be sent within 30 days of the date the account is made. 

The opt out can be sent to (1) email to arbitrationoptout@lyft.com, or (2) by certified mail, postage prepaid and return receipt requested, or by any nationally recognized delivery service (e.g, UPS, Federal Express, etc.) addressed to: General Counsel, Lyft, Inc., 185 Berry St., Suite 5000, San Francisco, CA 94107.

If you would like to see an example of the email you can send, or just want to copy it, submit the form below!

 

[1]A. J. S. Colvin, An Empirical Study of Employment Arbitration: Case Outcomes and Processes, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 8(1), 1-23 (2011), https://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1586&context=articles.


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