Uber settles Australian class action lawsuit for $178.3 million

According to a statement from a law firm representing taxi operators and drivers, Uber has reached a settlement agreement amounting to A$271.8m ($178.3 million) to resolve a lawsuit in Australia. The lawsuit against Uber was originally lodged in 2019 in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers initiated the class action on behalf of more than 8,000 taxi and hire car owners and drivers who claimed they suffered financial losses due to Uber’s forceful expansion into the country.

In a statement, the law firm said, “Uber fought tooth and nail at every point along the way. This case succeeded where so many others have failed. In Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia, cases were brought against governments and all of them failed. What our group members asked for was not another set of excuses – but an outcome – and today we have delivered it for them.”

Uber responded, “Since 2018, Uber has made significant contributions into various state-level taxi compensation schemes, and with today’s proposed settlement, we put these legacy issues firmly in our past. It would be inappropriate to comment on specifics until the agreement is finalised and the settlement is disclosed to the court.”

Before any payout can proceed, the court must still approve the proposed settlement as being in the best interests of the group members.

Uber, headquartered in San Francisco and founded in 2009, operates in approximately 70 countries and over 10,000 cities worldwide. Throughout its existence, the company has encountered protests from taxi drivers in various cities across the globe.

In December 2023, Uber emerged victorious in a lawsuit brought against it by 2,500 taxi drivers in France. A commercial court in Paris ruled that Uber had not engaged in unfair competition practices. The taxi drivers had sought €455 million in damages.

The company has also faced legal action in recent years in the US and elsewhere over its treatment of workers. For example, a California court ruling in 2020 ordered the firm to reclassify its workers as employees, rather than contractors.

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