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In settlement agreement, Uber gives drivers permission to ask for tips

Just about every app from which drivers can accept jobs–Lyft, Postmates, Favor–has a feature through which customers can tip them at checkout or after submitting a rating. Uber does not. “You don’t need cash when you ride with Uber,” reads the company’s customer service website. “Once you arrive at your destination, your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file — there’s no need to tip.” This policy has long been a point of contention between Uber and some of its drivers.

Uber finally addressed tipping on Thursday, when it reached a  settlement in class-action labor lawsuits with drivers in two states. But instead of agreeing to add a tipping feature to its app, according the Wall Street Journal, Uber has agreed to instead permit drivers to post signs in their cars soliciting tips. Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Considering the willingness of similar companies to integrate easy tip tools in their technology (Lyft, for instance, uses Uber’s same cashless point to promote tips, saying, “since Lyft is a cashless platform, all tips are processed through the app, ride receipt, or a member of our team”), this piece of the settlement agreement, which must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, appears less of a concession than a big old-fashioned FU.

Update: From the plaintiff’s lawyer’s declaration: “I believe the portion of the settlement regarding Uber’s tipping policy will have a substantial and real effect on drivers’ livelihoods. Under the agreement, Uber has agreed to make good faith efforts to clarify its messaging regarding tipping, clarifying on its website and in communications with drivers and riders that tips are not included on Uber’s platforms (with the exception of UberTAXI) and that tipping is neither expected nor required. Moreover, Uber has confirmed that its policies do not prohibit a driver from putting up signs or requesting a tip.”SK