University of Michigan Law School
The Law and Mobility Program and the Journal of Law and Mobility are a resource for scholarship, analysis, and information concerning law connected and automated vehicles and new mobility concepts.
ARTICLES & Essays
By Tamar Meshel
Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and similar mobile-based transportation network companies (TNCs) have been involved in numerous legal battles in multiple jurisdictions. One contested issue concerns whether TNC drivers are employees or independent contractors. Uber recently lost this battle to some extent in the UK, but won it in California. Another issue concerns the TNCs’ use of mandatory (pre-dispute) arbitration clauses in their standard form service agreements with both drivers and passengers. These arbitration clauses purport to obligate such future plaintiffs to resolve any dispute with the defendant TNC outside of court and, typically, on an individual rather than a class basis. TNCs have had mixed success enforcing arbitration clauses contained in service agreements with their drivers under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). As for passengers, TNCs have been increasingly litigating disability-based discrimination claims brought against them and/or their drivers pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These claims have largely arisen in two situations. Read more > >
As someone who has thought about cybersecurity for some time, including in previous posts on this blog, the recent events around the hack of the Colonial Pipeline has been front of mind, and not just because I live in Washington, D.C., where gas stations have been running out of fuel. The incident is yet another dramatic demonstration of how cyberattacks can cause serious real-world damage. As more and more of our transportation system becomes connected to computer networks (both vehicles and infrastructure) cybersecurity is becoming just as important issue as the physical safety and security of our roads and vehicles.
Last year I wrote about Uber and Lyft’s battle against a California law that required them to treat their drivers as employees, rather than contractors. Then, in November, California voters passed Prop. 22, which exempted app-based drivers from that law, something Claire covered in detail. Two recent actions from the Biden Administration, which has positioned itself as pro-worker and pro-organized labor, indicate that the fight over how to classify gig workers is far from over, and that the administration will throw their weight toward increasing the rights of gig workers. These actions come as Uber, Lyft, and other emerging transportation companies reckon with their labor practices overall, amid a changing atmosphere as we emerge from COVID lockdown.