GM to Hire More Workers for Self-Driving Car Program

While we may never see a flying car, as many science fiction movies of the 80’s and 90’s liked to feature, it seems that self-driving cars are going to be on the roads in large numbers in the relatively near future.  There are already some models on the road, like the ones made by Tesla, but these electric cars are technically not self-driving cars, but rely on an advanced guided cruise control system.  In other words, they make driving easier, but a human driver still needs to be behind the wheel paying attention.

woman workingHowever, there are true self-driving cars in the works.  Google seems the closest, with a system that will allow an occupant to simply program the car’s destination, and the vehicle takes over and does all of the work.  They have even tested one with a blind operator sitting in the driver’s seat.  This would obviously be a great help to those who are blind or unable to drive based upon a disability.According to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, General Motors (GM) is planning to hire 1,100 for its new self-driving car program.  In exchange for this, the company will hire those workers for its Los Angeles operations center and will be getting an $8 million tax break for doing so.

As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, while many people think of Silicon Valley when they are thinking of technology, LA is actually becoming a major tech hub that may even outpace Silicon Valley in terms of growth over the next decade. This is exciting news, and jobs are the talk of just about every politician these days.

However, as more jobs are coming to the area, from whatever industry, we have to be mindful to make sure that workers are not being taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers.  We have seen this is across many sectors, and one of the major issues deals with classification, or more properly misclassification, of workers.

A worker who works for a company and gets paid by the hour is typically an employee.  This employee will use his or her employer’s equipment to perform any required tasks and will likely be supervised by the employer directly or by a representative of the employer.  This is not the only class of employment, however.  There are also independent contractors.  For example, if you hire someone to paint your house, that person is generally not your employee.  You will pick the color and buy the paint, but he or she will bring the equipment and do the job.  You may have standards and want a good job done, but you are not going to be watching that person paint and telling them they must hold the brush a certain way.  This person is not your employee.  You do not have to pay them overtime, and you do not have to give them other benefits.

The reason this matters is because some employers will try to classify their employees as contractors to avoid paying overtime and benefits.  This may be a violation of the labor code, and the aggrieved party may have legal recourse.

Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.

Additional Resources:
GM to hire 1,100 workers in California to bolster self-driving car program; gets $8 million tax break, April 14, 2017, LA Times

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