Uber has failed in its attempt to keep the driver classification lawsuit it’s fighting from remaining a class action.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco ruled Tuesday that drivers could sue as a group. That means that when the case goes to a jury trial next year, the decision about whether drivers are employees, entitled to full benefits, or remain contractors will apply to all drivers in the state of California instead of just the three drivers who filed it. It’s a victory for these plaintiffs and their lawyer, allowing them to levy a far greater blow against Uber in the event they win.
Not every claim the plaintiffs levied will be treated as a class action, however. Their request for reimbursement of expenses will not apply to all drivers in California, regardless of whether they win. When asked for comment, Uber replied with the following statement:
While we are not surprised by this Court’s ruling, we are pleased that it has decided to certify only a tiny fraction of the class that the plaintiffs were seeking. Indeed one of the three named plaintiffs will not qualify. That said, we’ll most likely appeal the decision as partners use Uber on their own terms, and there really is no typical driver–the key question at issue.
The debate over whether the lawsuit should be a class action focused on the issue of whether the four drivers who filed the suit could rightly represent an entire class of drivers. Uber argued that wasn’t the case and trotted out 400 drivers to testify that they preferred the flexibility of being contractors. As Re/code reported, six of these drivers later reversed their testimony after learning more about the benefits accorded to employees.
Edward Chen, the judge overseeing the case, tore apart Ubers’ driver testimony for its potential biases. “There is nothing to suggest (and Uber does not contend) that these 400 drivers were randomly selected and constitute a representative sample of the driver population,” Chen said in the filing. “Nothing suggests, for instance, that they were told that were the Plaintiffs to prevail, they might be entitled to thousands of dollars.”
See the judge’s full decision below:
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.