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DoorDash Ordered Into Individual Arbitration With 5,000 Workers

Feb. 11, 2020, 2:24 AM

DoorDash Inc. must individually arbitrate claims filed by more than 5,000 delivery drivers fighting for overtime pay and minimum wages, a federal judge in California said.

The online delivery company can’t stall the arbitration proceedings filed by the drivers who say they should have been considered employees, rather than independent contractors, said Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. DoorDash attorneys asked to halt the proceedings until a $39.5 million settlement in a state court moves forward.

Terrell Abernathy and 5,878 other couriers previously asked Alsup to compel individual arbitration of their claims that DoorDash misclassified them as independent contractors, which DoorDash opposed. The company requires its couriers to sign arbitration agreements. The judge didn’t require arbitration for 869 workers because of inadequate evidence that they entered into valid arbitration agreements.

Alsup also didn’t grant DoorDash’s request for the court to freeze the litigation until after a state court in San Francisco rules on a motion for preliminary approval of a class settlement in Marciano v. DoorDash.

But the judge added that he expects the Abernathy couriers who arbitrate their claims to opt out of the Marciano settlement, if it’s approved.

Keller Lenkner LLC represents the couriers. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP represents DoorDash.

The case is Abernathy v. DoorDash, N.D. Cal., No. 19-cv-07545, order 2/10/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erin Mulvaney in Washington at emulvaney@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Karl Hardy at khardy@bloomberglaw.com; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com

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