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Uber will pay up to $100 million to settle suits with drivers seeking employee status

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The San Francisco ride-hailing company Thursday evening announced it will pay an initial sum of $84 million to settle cases in California and Massachusetts to some 385,000 drivers. Uber, which is valued at $62.5 billion, said it will pay the drivers an additional $16 million if the company’s valuation reaches 1.5 times its current value after it goes public or if it gets bought.

When taken to trial, employment lawsuits of this kind tend to be all or nothing. By settling, the drivers’ attorney is ensuring her clients will at least receive some compensation.

For Uber, a settlement means the company avoids the risk of losing the lawsuit and being forced to recognize its thousands of drivers as employees -- and putting itself on the hook to pay back wages and benefits.

$100 million to settle for a $62 billion company is pocket change.

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