Articles Posted in misclassification

“Gig” employment, also known as the, “sharing economy,” has exploded across the country, with increasingly more services following in the footsteps of the likes of Uber and Grubhub. These businesses often use appsCalifornia Employment Attorney to connect workers with customers for one-time services. These companies amass an eager base of workers who sign up for shifts as able, delivering groceries, transporting passengers, and more.

Many workers view gig employment as a flexible and easy way to earn extra money, while employers view it as a cheap way to staff a robust labor pool.

However this dynamic has led to a growing number of employee misclassification lawsuits as the debate comes to a boil as to whether these workers are independent contactors or employees (with all the rights that employees receive). Continue reading

The time between Black Friday and Christmas Day is always a hectic one for those who work in the retail industry.  This is the time when sales are often the highest, which is where the term “Black Friday” is derived, as store ledgers move from the red to the black. Much has changed in recent years in terms of how employers staff their businesses during this time, and some of these updates are creating a significant hardship for these hard-working employees.

employee misclassificationAccording to a recent news article from The Los Angeles Times, retailers, regardless of their size, are using computers to maximize staffing at times that correlate with higher sales. They are also using many more temporary employees than ever before.  This way they can safe costs by not having as many year-round employees. Continue reading

The unemployment rate is one of the factors economists use to determine the health of the market.  When more people are working it historically means that companies are prospering and the economy is getting stronger. Currently, the unemployment rate is down in Los Angeles and Orange County according to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Daily News. While this is generally good news, new issues arise as our economy has largely shifted into what has been termed an on demand economy.worker-199x300

This sounds like a good thing, but there are ways companies can use this newer model to take advantage of employees and not provide them with all of the wages and benefits to which they are rightfully entitled.  This is often done through what employment attorneys call employee misclassification. Continue reading

A California employee misclassification lawsuit appears to be drawing toward a resolution, after plaintiffs – a group of corporate training managers – have asked a federal judge to approve a $2.75 million settlement alleging their employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. employee misclassification

Specifically, plaintiffs in Dito, et al v. AT&T Services, Inc. et al alleged in the California Northern District Court that telecommunication giant AT&T wrongly classified them as independent contractors in violation of the FLSA, when in fact they were employees. The goal of the misclassification, plaintiffs allege, was to sidestep legal requirements to pay workers overtime.

The proposal for settlement involves a somewhat unusual structure in that it includes both a common fund for existing class members within the state, as well as an opt-in for those out-of-state who may be class members, but have yet to assert their own claims under FLSA. The settlement would save class members the the risks of individual employment litigation. Even this class action employment lawsuit, were it to continue, could drag on several more years, plaintiff attorneys opine.  Continue reading

In today’s changing marketplace, “gig” employment is becoming increasingly popular. On-demand mobile services for ride-sharing, grocery delivery, restaurant delivery and many other services have created vast income opportunities for those seeking part-time or supplemental income. Unfortunately, this new and emerging labor market has complicated the legal rights of such workers. Many companies and employees experience conflict over the employee’s classification as either an employee or independent contractor. Despite the confusion, it is important to remember that all California workers have legal rights under the Labor Code and other employment laws.employment lawyers

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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