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Drivers Make Anti-Trust Allegations Against Uber and Lyft

Three drivers are suing Lyft and Uber, alleging the companies unfairly control how much a ride costs. They filed their lawsuit in California and are seeking class-action status.

Both companies label drivers as independent contractors, asserting the drivers' set their hours and maintain more independence. By not categorizing them as employees, the two companies avoid compensating drivers for benefits and expenses. Supported by the advocacy group Rideshare Drivers United, the drivers argue that the companies engage in anti-competitive practices such as setting prices and limiting the drivers'  ability to choose the rides that they accept without penalty. They cannot view a passenger's destination before agreeing to provide a ride. As a result, the employees argue that they are not truly independent. The drivers in the lawsuit are seeking to bar Uber and Lyft from "fixing prices for ride-share services" and "withholding fare and destination data from drivers when presenting them with rides."

The drivers contend that Uber and Lyft are interfering with the open market by restricting how they work and how much they charge their passengers. Uber responded, stating the drivers' complaint "misconstrues both the facts and the applicable law." Lyft pointed to the ballot measure passed in California that locks in the drivers' status as independent contractors, giving the drivers flexibility and independence. Experts interviewed by the New York Times think it is unlikely the drivers will prevail in the anti-trust litigation. However, a California court could weigh in on individual rules that reduce competition between the two companies.