Amazon is among a large list of corporations that have long tried to enforce mandatory arbitration against delivery drivers who file suit in their respective jurisdictions. In recent years, delivery drivers have decided to fight back against private arbitration and to have their legal battles heard in court. In these cases, delivery drivers argue that they are exempt from arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) because they are engaged in interstate commerce. Section 1 of the FAA exempts from arbitration “contracts of employment of seaman, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” Further, section 2 of the FAA governs whether the Act applies in the first place and broadly relates to “contract[s] evidencing a transaction involving commerce.” In a recent Ninth Circuit decision, the court established that delivery drivers are exempt from mandatory arbitration, allowing drivers to keep their lawsuits in court. In addition, the Ninth Circuit holding makes dismantling class or collective actions more problematic for transportation, logistics and gig-economy companies.
Rittmann v. Amazon.com, Inc.: Ninth Circuit Rules Amazon’s Drivers Fall Within the Federal Arbitration Act’s “Transportation Worker Exemption”, 51 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 1