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LA Uber Driver Got Unemployment Benefits

Discussion in 'Los Angeles & Orange County' started by DriverZero, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. DriverZero

    DriverZero Member

    Los Angeles
    I am a former driver in the Los Angeles area who started driving part time in 12/2013 and was forced to strop driving recently in 2015. I was using Uber, when it made financial sense, to supplement my income, and shortly thereafter it became my only means of income.

    I began driving when, on Fri evening-Sunday afternoon, I would average around $40/hr before commission, expenses etc. Now, you literally have to be stupid to drive for Uber in LA anymore. I'm sorry, but it's true....after expenses and taxes, it nets out to less than minimum wage almost all of the time, even when driving during peak hours to bring the average up. Uber relies on it's drivers lack of understanding of the real costs of providing their services.

    SO....I filed for unemployment through the CA EDD, under the grounds that Uber's reduction in my pay (I was recently earning less than 30% of what I used to earn when I began) was tantamount to a demotion/reduction of hours.

    My claim was initially denied on the grounds that I was an "independent contractor" and thus not eligible to receive unemployment benefits. I filed an appeal and appeared before a judge as a part of the regular appeals process. The issue that the judge was SUPPOSED to decide was - "who was my last employer," as I was also employed in a "regular" salaried position while I started working for Uber. The question of "was I asked to leave" or was I "terminated" was the issue to be discussed, as if that other employer had not terminated me (and I continued working for Uber), I would not be due benefits.

    Anyway....after questions about this key issue were answered, I made sure to guide the judge into a conversation where he would have an understanding of Uber's business practices, and why I should be classified as an employee of Uber. Over 30 minutes, I explained how Uber controlled nearly every aspect of our "partnership" and how we run our "independent businesses." I shared in great detail how Uber frequently forces drivers into accepting "contracts" wherein we have no idea what the job is "ie, where a passenger is going" and then how Uber sends us texts messages in which we are threatened with termination should we cancel when we find out that the "contract" will cause us to lose money (IE, a drive to Glendale or The Valley). He was even filled in on little things....like when a passenger vomits in your car and you're reimbursed for only the cost of cleaning and you can't work for two days....you get ****ed. On and on, etc. I also informed the judge about the recent decision of the California Public Utilities Commision in June 2015, which declared a single Uber driver to be an "employee" and awarded her damages. The judge then concluded that he was unable to decide who was indeed my last "employer," however he indicated to me that if it was indeed Uber, he would advocate that I was indeed due to receive unemployment benefits. He would refer the case back to the EDD.

    A week later I received a call from a woman at the EDD (I forget the name of her special department) who began to ask me questions. I was aware of the rubric used in the state of CA as a guideline for determining "employee vs contractor" and asked the woman if she was trying to determine whether or not I was an IC or an employee. She said yes, and then after answering her questions, I again delved into a 45 minute conversation with her regarding Uber's business practices. At the end of the conversation, she asked if she could share my contact info within the department for further use. She then also subtly indicated that she would find me to be an Employee of Uber.

    2 weeks later, I got a letter telling me that I am entitled to a few hundred dollars/week in unemployment benefits (before taxes). After calling the EDD, I was able to get the first $2500 direct-deposited into my bank account, backdated from the date that I originally filed for unemployment. I just went online today to fill out the rest of the forms, and should expect another $2800 to be deposited within the next 2 weeks.

    I have reported the income and sent copies of my documentation as proof to Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lead attorney in the Uber Class Action lawsuit. I do not know if if I am the first former driver in CA to be awarded unemployment benefits...but I think that I may be.

    The dominos are falling. I feel that Uber will lose this case and their business model will be significantly impaired. They are an awful company. You have been exploited. Remember, the former employer pays for your unemployment (as do you in your IC/Payroll taxes). Go get what's yours.

    I will not be making any further comments or answering any questions.

    Lastly, **** UBER.
  2. Ububu

    Ububu Well-Known Member

    los angeles
    Justice is sweet.:)
  3. UberFrolic

    UberFrolic Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles
  4. observer

    observer Moderator Moderator

    long beach

    Yaaaaaay for you!!!!!!!

    All drivers should file for unemployment.
  5. groovyguru

    groovyguru Well-Known Member

    Planet Earth
    You da man! You will go into the history books as a positive force against the exploitive capitalism of the tech era.
    UberResearcher, JLA, mizzrock and 4 others like this.
  6. Just_in

    Just_in Well-Known Member

    That's too bad. Your like a hero now..fight the big 50 billion company and win..
  7. UberComic

    UberComic Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles
    I think we all owe you a beer.

    I'm worried that Uber will find a way not to pay the millions of dollars they owe current and former drivers. The writings on the wall. The Uber way is illegal and immoral.
    krazydrive, JLA, mizzrock and 3 others like this.
  8. daniel mondello

    daniel mondello Active Member

  9. daniel mondello

    daniel mondello Active Member

    Did you quit working for Uber, or layed off ????
  10. XUberMike

    XUberMike Well-Known Member

    Sweet So Cal
    Boy I love California, give give give but take take take. Give us your EEU office so we can all apply.
    mizzrock and Casuale Haberdasher like this.
  11. bscott

    bscott Well-Known Member

    So Cal
  12. ubershiza

    ubershiza Well-Known Member

  13. UberSneak

    UberSneak Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles
    Congratulations man! If Uber eventually falls, hopefully your case will be used as one of the nails in their coffin.
    Drivers are being exploited but they don't even realize it. Yes, they should know better, but they don't which is why the court should/will step in to address all of these issues; to keep Uber from taking advantage of drivers.
  14. toi

    toi Well-Known Member

    Santa Barbara
    David vs goliath ....
    Good work man , good work
  15. LA Cabbie

    LA Cabbie Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles
    As a la cabbie who did this for 3 years when nobody even knew what uber was and for a year now when everybody knows, I can attest that cabbing no matter what you drive leased taxi or private car, you average around half minimum wage.

    The biggest mistake drivers make is that they have one really good day and think this gig is profitable. Do your calculations at the end of the month.

    Take the gross you make.

    Subtract expenses. To make it easy here use monthly work related mileage and multiply by .50 cents. Remember to include in expenses Uber's commission (dont forget srf) which sometimes ironically are more than leasing a cab. The fifty cents is irs estimate cost per mile for owning and operating a typical vehicle, FYI . Mileage starts from the second you pull out of your operating base and ends when you report back. Not from when you get the first call and when you service the last.

    Divide the number from above by hours you stayed on cab duty for the month. Please folks don't get smart and only count hours cabbing when actually servicing calls. You are doing a great disservice to yourselves.

    The number you end up with now after monthly net profit divided by work hours is your true wage per hour.

    Here is what I guarantee for you.

    1) 5100 miles.

    2) 1200 uber fees.

    2) 1800 net profit.

    3) 280 duty hours.

    You will find yourself averaging $6 to $7 per hour. This estimate is for uber x and not optimized for real pros like Optimus uber who knows how to game the system and cultivate personals from high values locales.

  16. Fuzzyelvis

    Fuzzyelvis Well-Known Member

    Did you guys catch what he said about reducing pay? In other words if you are employed for $500 per week in a job and get cut to $250 for the same hours you can file for unemployment because of the reduction. You don't have to lose the job.

    This means many would qualify due to rate cuts especially although not exclusively if they have no other job and work for uber full time when the rates are cut.
    JLA, Sebikun20, mizzrock and 6 others like this.
  17. Txchick

    Txchick Moderator Moderator

    Dallas TX
    Awesome & well done!
  18. 20yearsdriving

    20yearsdriving Well-Known Member

    Finally !!!!
  19. Walkersm

    Walkersm Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Bravo!! Can we get this stickied at the top of at least the LA/OC forum??
  20. Ububu

    Ububu Well-Known Member

    los angeles

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