Maria Montero

Instacart faces class action lawsuit over wages and tips

Instacart faces another class action lawsuit related to the way it pays its independent contractors, reports NBC News. Instacart guarantees its workers at least $ 10 per job, but the workers allege that Instacart compensates wages with tips from clients.

The lawsuit alleges that Instacart “maliciously and maliciously tipped to pay plaintiffs’ wages, although Instacart maintained that 100 percent of customer tips went directly to buyers. Based on this representation, Instacart knew customers would believe. that his advice would be given to buyers in addition to wages, not to supplement wages in full. “

Instacart has had a difficult relationship over the years with its drivers and buyers. In 2016, Instacart removed the tip option in exchange for guaranteeing higher delivery commissions. About a month later, after pressure from buyers, the company reintroduced tips.

In 2017, Instacart settled a $ 4.6 million lawsuit over claims that the company misclassified its personal buyers as independent contractors and also failed to reimburse them for labor expenses. As part of the deal, Instacart had to change the way it described a service fee, which many people mistakenly thought meant a tip. Then, last April, Instacart began suggesting a default 5 percent tip.

In addition to the lawsuit, workers have taken to Reddit and other online forums to report Instacart’s payment practices. Since the introduction of a new pay structure in October, which includes items such as mileage payments, quality bonuses and advice for customers, workers have said that pay has worsened, well below the minimum wage. In one case, Instacart paid a worker just 80 cents for more than one hour of work. Instacart has since said that it was a glitch, caused by the fact that the customer paid $ 10, and has introduced a new minimum payment for orders. So Instacart paid the worker $ 10.80, but only 80 cents of it came from Instacart.

“In other words, Instacart is now confirming what workers have been saying since the change in the pay structure – that the company is actually using customer advice to pay workers’ wages,” Working Washington, an organization of workers representing nearly 2,000 Instacart shoppers, he wrote on his blog. “When a customer tips in advance, it doesn’t mean extra money to the worker. Instacart just pays the worker less to make it up.”

While Instacart has said this was an advantage case, Working Washington says this has happened in other cases. In another case, Instacart paid a worker just $ 7.26 (including the cost of mileage) for more than two hours of work.

“Obvious explanation: customer paid $ 25,” writes the organization.

It is not entirely clear how widespread this problem is, but it does not appear to be an anomaly, according to Working Washington.

“I have a feeling the pay cuts are pretty universal – workers fairly consistently report getting 25% or less after the change,” Sage Wilson, an organizer at Working Washington, told TechCrunch. “The part of the councils that they have admitted is the policy for smaller jobs, but we’ve seen good evidence that it extends beyond that. We have a page with some collected screenshots here: “.

Next week, this group plans to hold a meeting for Instacart workers across the country. Similarly, DoorDash is also under fire, with workers alleging that DoorDash is paying drivers less, depending on how much they tip.

TechCrunch contacted Instacart several hours ago and has yet to receive a response. We are also awaiting feedback from DoorDash.