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Docs Reveal How Much Uber Owed Drivers If They Were Deemed Employees

Ride Share CompaniesRide Share Companies
An Uber car at an airportPhotograph by Robert Gauthier — LA Times via Getty Images

Drivers who worked for ride-hailing service Uber in California and Massachusetts over the past seven years would have been entitled to an estimated $730 million in expense reimbursements had they been employees rather than contractors, according to court documents made public on Monday.

The figure was calculated by attorneys for drivers in a class action against the company, based on a standard rate for mileage reimbursement set by the U.S. government, and on data provided by Uber. Uber disputes the idea that drivers would ever be entitled to that reimbursement rate.

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Uber and smaller rival Lyft are attempting to settle legal actions by drivers who contend they should be classified as employees and therefore entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gasoline and vehicle maintenance. Drivers currently pay those costs themselves.

The proposed settlement would pay drivers up to $100 million.

According to attorneys for the drivers, the total value of driver claims in the Uber case is $852 million, which includes a tips claim. Uber calculates the total value of plaintiff claims at $429 million.

Uber attempted to keep those figures secret, but a San Francisco federal judge ordered them unsealed last week.