On June 1, 2021 the Southern District of Florida granted the motion by Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) to compel arbitration, finding that the company’s drivers did not engage in sufficient interstate commerce to meet the interstate commerce exclusion in the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

Plaintiffs Kathleen Short and Harold White brought a class action against Uber alleging that the company’s policy of classifying its drivers as independent contractors violates the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Florida Minimum Wage Act because the company failed to pay drivers the minimum wage. Uber sought to enforce its arbitration agreement which unambiguously required plaintiffs to pursue any potential claims in an individual arbitration.

The plaintiffs attempted to avoid the agreement by arguing that they were outside the scope of the FAA. Section 1 of the FAA excludes “contracts of Employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce” from the FAA’s requirements. The Supreme Court has previously held in Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Adams, 532 U.S. 105 (2001), that the “interstate commerce” exclusion applies only to transportations workers.

Judge Aileen M. Cannon noted while the Eleventh Circuit had not weighed in on whether rideshare drivers qualify for the Section 1 exclusion, it has consistently held that the law applies only to workers who “actually engage in the transportation of goods in interstate commerce” and are “employed in the transportation industry.” The court explained that to determine whether the transportation worker exemption applies, courts have analyzed whether the class of workers as a whole engaged in interstate commerce, rather than looking at individual workers.

Judge Cannon rejected the plaintiffs’ exclusion argument based on Uber’s evidence that only 12.8% of the drivers made any interstate trips in 2020, and among those drivers, interstate trips amounted to fewer than 2% of their total number of trips. With similar cases being litigated in California and in the Third Circuit, the applicability of the FAA’s interstate commerce exclusion to rideshare drivers continues to be an important issue for rideshare companies.

Back to Wage and Hour Defense Blog Blog

Search This Blog

Blog Editors


Related Services



Jump to Page


Sign up to receive an email notification when new Wage and Hour Defense Blog posts are published:

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.