Richard Reibstein Provides Insight to Law360 on Ruling For Amazon Independent Contractor Drivers

April 24, 2019

Richard Reibstein, a Partner in Locke Lord’s Labor and Employment Practice in New York and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Independent Contractor Misclassification and Compliance Practice, was quoted in a Law360 article examining a Washington district court’s ruling that Amazon could not compel arbitration of the independent contractor misclassification claims asserted by drivers who provide delivery services of the company’s goods because they are exempt from the arbitration provisions of the Federal Arbitration Act. Reibstein noted there may be a "hidden lesson" from the Amazon court decision because companies can get around "arbitration-unfriendly laws" by making sure they select state arbitration laws in their independent contractor agreements s that do not have the type of exemptions and exclusions found in the FAA and the Washington state arbitration law.

Reibstein continued, "By so doing, companies should generally be able to avoid [the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in] New Prime and compel arbitration of almost all disputes with independent contractor drivers under an arbitration-friendly state arbitration law — much to the chagrin of workers classified as independent contractors, who may continue to regard New Prime and the new Amazon decision as a get-out-of-arbitration-free card.”

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