A New Gig for Unconscionability — Equity and Human Dignity in Uber Technologies v. Heller [2020]

Raúl Madden

Abstract


In Uber Technologies Inc. v. Heller, the Canadian Supreme Court affirmed the capacity of the doctrine of unconscionability to protect people working in the ‘gig economy’ from oppressive implications of non-negotiable standard form contracts tendered by drastically more powerful business entities. On the basis of unconscionability, the Court rejected Uber’s attempt to enforce a clause in their non-negotiable standard form contract that would preclude its drivers from invoking employment law rights in a domestic court, having stipulated dispute resolution through arbitration in a foreign jurisdiction at upfront and unaffordable expense to the driver. This case note critically elucidateshow the Court’s decision advances standards of human dignity for working people through an equitable reading of the relevant statute, and subsequently applying the characteristic elasticity of the Equitable doctrine of unconscionability in addressing changing social and economic circumstances and drastic power imbalances between parties.


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References


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