In an outstanding win for gig workers, the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C., have reached a $100 million settlement on behalf of drivers who worked for the food delivery service DoorDash, Inc. On January 13, 2020, a California Federal Judge gave final approval to the class action settlement in Marko v. DoorDash, Inc., solving claims brought pursuant to California’s employee classification laws for misclassifying California and Massachusetts drivers as independent contractors in the largest gig economy class settlement to date.
This case is an invaluable step forward for future gig worker class action lawsuits. It demonstrates that DoorDash and other gig companies may be misclassifying and harming workers and potentially provides leverage for workers at these companies to pursue further class actions and fight for their employment rights.
Understanding Marko v. DoorDash, Inc.
Gig workers occupy a unique role in the business landscape. Many gig workers are classified as independent contractors by their employers. According to these companies, because workers can choose when to accept work, they meet the criteria for contractor status.
However, many gig workers allege that they are misclassified and should be considered employees, not contractors. In California, contractors must meet the conditions of the “ABC Test”:
- They perform a function unrelated to the company’s typical business
- They are free from control and direction when performing their work for the company
- They often engage in the same work independently for other parties
If a worker does not meet all three of these standards, they are not to be classified as a contractor and must instead be classified as an employee. While there are exceptions, these consist of jobs such as architecture, real estate, stylists, financial service operatives, and other unique industries, not delivery driving.
This misclassification argument was the basis for the case Marko v. DoorDash, Inc. Daniel Marko, Jesus Corona, and others filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other DoorDash drivers alleging that they were misclassified by the company and therefore were not being compensated per California or Massachusetts law. They argued that since their work was a fundamental function of the company, they did not meet the standards of the ABC test. Furthermore, they alleged this was a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as multiple other labor laws. They requested damages including:
- Compensation for work expenses such as fuel and mileage
- Backpay for unpaid overtime
- Backpay for unpaid minimum wage
However, DoorDash disagreed and fought the case in court.
How Marko v. DoorDash, Inc. Was Resolved
Civil lawsuits typically end in one of two ways. The first is to have a judge rule in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant. Should they rule in favor of the plaintiff, the judge will often order the defendant to pay damages to the plaintiff for the harm they have suffered. In addition, the defendant may be ordered to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees and other punitive fines. The judge may order the defendant to change their behavior in some way, such as by correctly classifying employees.
The alternative is that the two parties reach a settlement. Settlements are preferred by courts, plaintiffs, and defendants alike in most cases. In a settlement, the plaintiff and defendant negotiate compensation or damages among themselves. Once they reach an agreement, the judge approves the settlement, and the case leaves the court without the judge making a ruling. Settlements are less time and resource intensive than court battles and often result in better outcomes for plaintiffs.
That is what occurred in Marko v. DoorDash, Inc. On behalf of their clients, the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. reached a $100 million settlement with DoorDash. This settlement was to be used to compensate drivers who were misclassified under California and Massachusetts law as contractors. The Marko settlement also resolved multiple other class action lawsuits filed on the same grounds, including Cynthia Marciano v. DoorDash, Inc. It is one of the largest gig economy class action settlements in history.
Drivers had until June 24, 2022, to submit claims to receive their portion of the settlement. This compensation is intended to cover losses drivers experienced due to a lack of benefits, protections, and minimum wage requirements while misclassified.
The Value of Experienced Attorneys
Gig work is the most significant frontier in employment law. There is a lack of solid case law surrounding gig work and setting a precedent regarding workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities. As such, many companies benefit from workers not understanding their rights or options and take advantage of them.
This is where the help of an experienced law firm such as the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. becomes invaluable. Workers like Daniel Marko, Jesus Corona, and Cynthia Marciano may not have the resources to take on a major corporation alone. However, with the assistance of the right law firm, any gig worker can file a class action lawsuit against an employer that is taking advantage of its workers.
When it comes to fighting for your rights as an employee, the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. have the resources, experience, and information necessary for success. The firm’s attorneys have decades of experience fighting on behalf of exploited workers. The DoorDash settlement is just the latest example of how the firm can fight for settlements that will compensate workers fairly for their suffering and financial losses.
Contact the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. are proud to have successfully fought for fair compensation for tens of thousands of DoorDash drivers around the country. The firm will continue to pursue justice on behalf of misclassified and otherwise abused workers through class action lawsuits.
Workers who believe their rights are being violated by their employers can contact the firm to explore their legal options. The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. offer free consultations to determine whether a worker has a case and to assist all workers with finding the best possible solution to their employment law concerns.