Class Action, Employment & Labour

Wright to appear before SCC in ride-sharing driver case

By Staff

An agreement between the world’s leading ride-sharing service and one of its drivers is unfair, and the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) should uphold a lower court decision to allow a class-action lawsuit to proceed, Toronto employment lawyer Michael Wright tells the Globe and Mail.

Wright, a lawyer with Wright Henry LLP, successfully argued the matter on behalf of a plaintiff driver at the Ontario Court of Appeal. He will appear before the nation’s top court on Wednesday, representing the driver.

The SCC will decide whether a proposed class-action lawsuit against the ride-hailing service can move ahead.

The high court has agreed to hear the company’s challenge of the appeal court decision that paved the way for the driver’s proposed lawsuit aimed at securing a minimum wage, vacation pay and other benefits for drivers.

Wright’s client is part of a service that calls on drivers to deliver food from restaurants to the company’s customers. He argues that these individuals are not independent contractors but employees of the ride-hailing company, which entitles them to protections under Ontarios Employment Standards Act.

The driver’s contract includes an arbitration clause that requires drivers to take unresolved complaints about the company to an arbitrator in Amsterdam, the Globe reports.

The initial costs of filing an arbitration claim are US$14,500, the national newspaper reports, and an earlier court ruling states the driver earns between $20,800 and $31,200 a year driving for the company.

The case has attracted 17 interveners, the Globe reports. Representatives for arbitration organizations and business groups are scheduled to appear, backing the ride-hailing service’s position. Worker’s rights groups, social justice, and consumer protection organizations are to appear as interveners in support of the driver’s side, the newspaper reports.

“The unconscionability test is a stringent one. It’s an exceptional remedy, but I would say this is one of the cases where it applies,” Wright tells the Globe.

- With files from the Canadian Press

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