A group of Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) reviewers have filed a class action lawsuit against the review website claiming that they should be treated like employees. The reviewers believe they should be paid. Yelp told Circa that this is a “textbook example of a frivolous lawsuit.”
The lawsuit argues that Yelp’s business model and success is dependent on over 42 million submitted reviews. The lawsuit also argues that Yelp technically employs those users and should pay cash including wages, damages, and reimbursements of expenditures.
The plaintiffs believe that volunteering to share their thoughts about a business makes them employees because Yelp only makes money if it has their reviews.
The lawsuit was filed earlier this month at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiffs also believe that Yelp misclassifies their “employees” as “volunteers, independent contractors, interns, contributors, freelance writers, reviewers, elites, or Yelpers.” The plaintiffs created a website to recruit users to become part of the lawsuit and asks people about how many reviews they have written and whether they have been declared one of Yelp’s “elite” users. The website is YelpClassAction.info.