Law School Case Brief
Razak v. Uber Techs., Inc. - No. 16-573, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148087 (E.D. Pa. Sep. 13, 2017)
Summary judgment is appropriate if the nonmoving party fails to rebut by making a factual showing "that a genuine issue of material fact exists and that a reasonable factfinder could rule in its favor."
Plaintiffs Ali Razak, Kenan Sabani, and Khaldoun Cherdoud are Pennsylvania drivers participating in the Uber ride-sharing service who brought individual and representative claims against Gdefendants Gegen, LLC and its sole member, Uber Technologies, Inc. for violations of the federal minimum wage and overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., as well as Pennsylvania state wage and labor laws. Uber filed a Motion for partial summary judgment questioning whether the plaintiffs qualified as their employees.
Was summary judgment for defendant Uber Technologies where plaintiff drivers contended that their "on call" and online App time while awaiting ride-sharing assignments were compensable as "work" under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA)?
The United States District Court denied defendant Uber's Motion for partial summary judgment without prejudice and with leave to refile at the completion of discovery. The Court explained that the FLSA itself provides no definition of the term "work," in general, or whether time spent "on call" is compensable "work" within the meaning of the statute. As a result, federal agencies and courts--including the Supreme Court of the United States--have addressed the question of whether "on-call" time is compensable under the FLSA. Here, the Court could not conclude that plaintiffs' time spent online the Uber app is not compensable as a matter of law. It further held that the parties must embark on completing any appropriate discovery on the issue of whether plaintiffs are employees or independent contractors under the FLSA. Because there are many precedents on this issue, the Court anticipated that it may be decided by cross-motions for summary judgment, after any relevant discovery has been completed. The Court noted that a key inquiry bearing on compensability under the FLSA is to what extent the employee's ability to engage in personal activities is restricted, such that the time is considered "predominantly" for the benefit of the employer rather than the employee.
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