Lime to Pay 8.5 Million Dollars in Worker Misclassification Lawsuit

A San Francisco Superior Court judge approved an $8.5 million settlement in a worker misclassification case against Lime. The class-action lawsuit argued that workers, called “juicers,” were misclassified as independent contractors when they were employees.

The settlement will be divided among 16,000 people. While Lime decided to settle the lawsuit, the San Francisco-based scooter rental company denied allegations of violating the law.

Lime distributes electric scooters across different cities. Customers can rent them through a smartphone app. The scooters can then be parked on sidewalks or streets after being used.

Juicers are responsible for picking up Lime scooters with low batteries in the evening, recharging them overnight and returning them to the streets. Lime pays juicers a bounty of $3 to $5 per scooter instead of a salary. 

According to the lawsuit, Lime controlled all aspects of the juicers’ work, including where to collect scooters, specific equipment to use when recharging scooters and the times to put them back on the streets. The complaint also said juicers spent a lot of time searching for scooters without getting paid.

Other issues they encountered include another juicer collecting a scooter, Lime app errors or scooters being left behind a fence or in a customer’s home. The company also had the power to cut juicers’ pay if tasks were not carried out according to requirements. The lawsuit claimed Lime workers missed out on minimum wage, reimbursement of business expenses and accurate wage statements due to being misclassified.

California uses the three-part ABC test to determine whether workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors. In many cases of worker misclassification, companies use one-sided independent contractor agreements to make employment arrangements that reduce a worker’s pay to below minimum wage. When workers are misclassified, they lose wage and hour rights, anti-discrimination protections, and other benefits.

While Erlich Law Firm was not involved with this lawsuit, we can answer all your questions about worker misclassification. If you believe your employer misclassified you, contact us to speak to an experienced Oakland employment lawyer.

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