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Ex-Grubhub driver wins $65 after eight-year legal fight with company

Ex-Grubhub driver wins $65 after eight-year legal fight with company

It might not sound like a lot, but it could have a big impact

A former Grubhub driver has won a gruelling eight-year-long legal battle against the food delivery service - seeing him $65 richer.

Ex-driver Raef Lawson took the food delivery company to court back in 2015, and after almost a decade of arguments, filings, and hearings, it has finally paid off. No, really.

$65 might not seem like a lot, but this win for Lawson will have a way bigger impact.

An ex Grubhub driver has just won his eight year legal battle with the company.
Richard Levine / Alamy Stock Photo

Lawson, an aspiring actor and comedian, had argued that he was a Grubhub employee, rather than a contractor, and so was entitled to minimum wage.

Grubhub maintained that their drivers weren't employees since they set their own hours and operate more like freelancers or independent businesses.

But Lawson argued that he met the state's definition of an employee.

Initially, a 2018 ruling found ruled in favour of Grubhub and found that Lawson did not have employee status.

Refusing to give up the fight, Lawson appealed the ruling - and eight years later, here he is.

Conveniently, between the first and second ruling, a state law changed in California, setting stricter worker protection standards, and new criteria to determine what an employee was.

That new criteria states that a worker can only be considered a contractor rather than an employee if they perform work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity's business.

And, wouldn't you know it, delivering food to customers is very much a part of the usual course of Grubhub's business.

In fact, it's pretty much the whole business.

Since Lawson's four-month stint at Grubhub never surpasses 40 hours per week, he isn't entitled to any overtime payment.
Joshua Marquez / Alamy Stock Photo

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled this Thursday (30 March) that, under this new California law, Lawson was legally a Grubhub employee, and was therefore entitled to minimum wage and overtime.

Judge Corley's ordered: "Mr. Lawson is properly classified as an employee, not an independent contractor, for purposes of his minimum wage and overtime claims.

"He is entitled to judgment on his minimum wage claim (count two of the complaint) with damages in the amount of $65.11."

Since Lawson's four-month stint at Grubhub never surpasses 40 hours per week, he isn't entitled to any overtime payment, so $65 will have to do.

This years-long case actually has a far bigger impact than just $65, though.

Gig economy workers such as delivery drivers, taxi drivers and couriers across the US have argued for quite some time that they should be entitled to employee rights, and now it's finally starting to pay off.

This week's ruling could determine whether or not other delivery drivers in California could qualify for reimbursement for overtime work, minimum wages, and personal vehicle expenses.

Employee rights would also see gig economy workers entitled to unemployment insurance and additional benefits.

UNILAD has contacted Grubhub for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Richard Levine / Alamy Stock Photo/Joshua Marquez / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: US News, News