The current situation for drivers of taxis, limousines and car service vehicles in New York is fluid. As the industry changes, companies are increasingly streamlining operations and using different strategies to maximize profit. Often, this leaves drivers wondering how they can adapt and earn the same wages they did in the past when there were fewer alternatives and cars could not be summoned with the press of a button. There is an argument for both sides — owners and management versus drivers — that the landscape must be defined with greater clarity.
Black car drivers who had a well-to-do clientele are claiming that their company has taken to using business tactics that costs them money. A class-action lawsuit was filed against the car service company that currently oversees the drivers and the company that sold the franchise to the new company. Drivers say they earned nearly six figures before the sale and that has been reduced to nearly nothing with the changes implemented. According to the drivers, the company is not giving them sufficient assignments to earn a living.
The company is accused of giving preferential treatment to driver-owners who are getting the better jobs with increased pay. These were previously given to the drivers who have filed suit. The chief executive of the company refused comment. The drivers say they paid for franchises with the company — as much as $41,000 — and are unable to leave because of that. In addition, the company is accused of refusing to repurchase the franchise rights from the drivers.
It is easy to see this situation from the perspective of the drivers. They work long hours and driving in New York and the surrounding areas is not easy. In fact, it is rife with traffic and dangers. However, the company also has rights and if the contracts the workers signed have certain stipulations, the company is not obligated to make any changes even if there is an accusation of employment law violations or other problems that drivers might have. Employers who are facing allegations of wrongdoing must remember their rights and be protected. There might be a negotiable solution to satisfy everyone. Or it could be necessary to move forward with a strong defense to protect the company. Having legal help from a law firm that understands employment law for employers is essential.