Employment Law

Postmedia – Uber Loses Court Battle Over Arbitration Clause

Uber Driver

Ontario’s top court has ruled that Uber drivers can turn to Canadian courts to try to resolve disputes with the ride-hailing service, paving the way for those drivers to move forward with a class-action lawsuit seeking to classify themselves as employees.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario released its ruling which determined that an arbitration clause in Uber Technologies Inc.’s service agreement for drivers that forced them to seek resolution for any dispute overseas was “unconscionable” and “invalid.”

As per the clause, drivers would have to have their issues with Uber heard via mediation or arbitration in the Netherlands, which is located as far as 6,000 km away from Canada. The upfront cost to engage in the arbitration process on foreign soil would cost drivers US$14,500.

This ruling allows Uber drivers to move ahead in their effort to certify their class-action lawsuit, which is being led by Toronto Employment Law Firm Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

“I think the message here is for companies … if you’re going to operate in Ontario, if you’re going to operate in Canada, you have to abide by our laws,” said Lior Samfiru, partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP and the employment lawyer who represents the thousands of Ontario drivers in the class action. “You have to play by the same rules as everyone else.”

Read more of Lior’s comments about this recent decision in the following Postmedia publications:

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