CarA California federal judge refused to allow Uber Technologies Inc. to send to arbitration two putative class actions in which drivers allege the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by running background checks without authorization.

Denying Uber’s motions to compel arbitration in the cases, which were filed by drivers in the San Francisco Bay area and in Boston, U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen ruled that arbitration provisions in 2013 and 2014 employment contracts were unenforceable, partly because they were difficult to locate.

Judge Chen held that the arbitration provision was procedurally and substantively unconscionable because drivers’ opt-out right in the contract was difficult to identify.  Boston driver Abdul Kadir Mohamed and San Francisco area driver Ronald Gillette argued that Uber and its subsidiary Raiser LLC and their employment screening agency Hirease LLC knowingly violated the FCRA and fair credit reporting laws in Massachusetts and California by failing to disclose that they would check their backgrounds.

The cases are Abdul Kadir Mohamed v. Uber Technologies Inc. et al., case number 3:14-cv-05200, and Ronald Gillette v. Uber Technologies et al., case number 3:14-cv-05241, in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.