Articles Posted in misclassification

A federal judge in California has refused to accept a proposed $100 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against ride-sharing service Uber, which is accused of misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors when they are, in fact, employees. drive7

The U.S. District judge in his order stated that the settlement was just 10 percent of what the drivers’ lawyers estimate the company would have to pay in legal fees. Plus, it only accounted $1 million for state penalties that could easily pile up to more than $1 billion. In light of these facts, the judge wrote, the settlement proposal was not fair to the workers, and neither was it reasonable or adequate.

It’s unclear what this and other cases are going to mean for the future of the company. The company’s fast-paced growth and low prices are contingent on the fact that it doesn’t have to pay its drivers fuel reimbursements or offer health insurance. But the company’s profitability is not the concern of the courts. The issue is whether more than 385,000 workers in California and Massachusetts (the parties to the lawsuit) were cheated out of these employee benefits by being wrongly classified. They argue the company had enough control over their day-to-day activities to be deemed employees – not independent contractors.  Continue reading

It’s been more than a decade since FedEx was first accused of driver misclassification by drivers for the company. The cases quickly began to pile up – ultimately some 12,000 from 20 states. tractortrailerwheels

As the multi-district litigation was combined into one action that crawled forward, a whole new generation of employee misclassification lawsuits were filed against other companies.

It’s only now, in 2016, that the company is proposing a settlement with drivers whom it formerly called independent contractors. The allegation has long been that the company hired them to work as “independent contractors.” They were paid as such, but they weren’t treated as such. In considering whether the classification was proper, courts were analyzing the level of control the company had over the workers, including facts like:

  • Drivers were required to drive trucks that were branded with the FedEx logo;
  • Drivers were required to wear FedEx uniforms;
  • Drivers had to use FedEx scanners;
  • Drivers weren’t free to turn down jobs if they wanted to keep working for the company.

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A former employee of Valve, one of the country’s largest video game developers, alleges her work environment became hostile and she was ultimately fired after she underwent a gender reassignment surgery. womanworking

She alleges she was mocked by supervisors and forced to become an independent contractor when she asked for the accommodation to move to Los Angeles during her surgery and recovery. Then, days after she raised concerns about the company’s alleged use of underage workers being employed full-time as translators, she was fired.

In its response to plaintiff’s lawsuit, A.M. v. Valve Corp., company administrators say they had no choice but to terminate plaintiff because her position was being relocated back to the company’s headquarters in Washington state. However, plaintiff insists she offered to return to Washington, but the company refused.  Continue reading

A $57,500 settlement was reached in an Orange County gender discrimination lawsuit in which plaintiff, an employee of Irvine Range Water District, alleged she suffered system sexism by her superiors. secretary

Although the settlement agreement did not require the employer to concede any wrongdoing, plaintiff’s complaint asserted there was plenty.

According to the lawsuit, plaintiff was hired as an engineering technician for the district back in 2007. Four months later, she was promoted to executive secretary and then the following year, she received another promotion to analyst. However, things began to spiral downward when a new supervisor came on-board.  Continue reading

By now, most everyone is familiar with Uber.  The company makes a smart phone app that you can download and use when you need a ride.  When the company first started, it was primarily a black car service.  The company got limo drivers to sign up for the service and agree to pick up customers for rides during the time they were not working on their regular jobs.

iphone5While this was initially good for black car drivers, it essentially put black car companies out of business, because everyone just gets an Uber ride now instead of calling for a traditional black car service.  Then the taxi drivers became upset that someone with no special insurance, and no background check, and no hack license could pick up fares and steal their business.  As a result, you can now call a cab on Uber.  Continue reading

According to a recent news feature from the Orange County Register, the clothing retailer American Apparel is cutting 300 jobs in Los Angeles and 80 more in Garden Grove. The 80 employees may not be the only ones laid off in Garden Grove as union leaders are preparing for that number to reach 150 in the next week or so.  These jobs are at a processing facility run by the clothing manufacturer in the Los Angeles area.

sadThese employees work as sewers, laborers, and even supervisors at the clothing manufacturing plant. As one might expect, the union that represents these workers in not happy with the all the past and future layoffs and has called for a major picket outside of the company’s factory.  Continue reading

These days, it is virtually impossible to turn on the television, open social media or even take public transportation without hearing about Donald Trump and his bid for the GOP presidential nomination.  Regardless of your feelings about him as a candidate, he is clearly an excellent marketer and seems thrilled every time he is mentioned in the press –  even if it is for a story depicting him in a negative light.

job-concept-1445172-4-mA recent article from the International Business Times reports Trump has been sued by hundreds of his own employers for alleged violations of the local and national labor laws.  The article suggests that the may be somewhat different from his “tough but fair” reputation on The Apprentice, where he was known for his catch phrase, “You’re fired.” Continue reading

We all know that finding a new job can be difficult.  This is especially true if you are currently unemployed.  As the saying goes, it’s easier to find a job when you already have a job.  However, we talk about finding a new job, many people do not even know where to begin.

iphone5According to a recent news feature from CBS Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has just released a new smart phone app designed to help people in the city find jobs. The way the app works is that it searches jobs from various listings and aggregates the results. This includes an average of around 50,000 jobs within city limits and another 100,000 jobs in Los Angeles County. Continue reading

A California employment lawsuit against ride-sharing service Lyft was settled with an interesting compromise. driver

Workers involved in the class-action lawsuit asserted they were in fact employees, entitled to all the legal protections that entails. However, the mobile app argued the drivers were independent contractors, meaning they wouldn’t be entitled to minimum wage, workers’ compensation, overtime and other benefits.

Now, Reuters reports the company has agreed to expand certain worker protections and it’s paying $12.25 million to the drivers who are party to the lawsuit. However, it has not agreed to label the drivers employees. For the business, this eliminates a significant threat to its business model, but it could still leave drivers in a vulnerable place.  Continue reading

If a worker is classified as an independent contractor, then by the classification’s very nature, the worker is not an employee. In many industries there is a lot of worker misclassification. One of the biggest industries with worker misclassification problems is the construction industry, and, in California, there are a lot of construction workers.

farm-field-views-1444353-mThe reason employers often to try classify all the workers as independent contractors is because it is cheaper when you do not have a pay a worker overtime or give him or her any benefits. Continue reading