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.
Conflicts between state and federal law have long been a problem for employers. This is more than a mere inconvenience: at times, it can remove safety rules which protect workers and prevent employers from incurring liability. A new law moving through Congress would remove safety protects in the most dangerous industry for American workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers recorded more fatal injuries in 2015 than any other occupation.
The Mercury News reports that the bill was written by Representative Jeff Denham, and would prevent states from setting their own rules for truck drivers’ work hours. Thus California would be prohibited from enforcing its own transportation safety laws, which require a thirty-minute meal break after five hours of work, and a ten-minute rest break after four hours of work. Instead, truck drivers driving through California would be subject to federal trucking regulations, which only require a thirty-minute meal break after eight hours of driving. Lobbyists claim that, while at least twenty states have set their own rest break laws, the bill is largely aimed at curbing the influence of California law in the trucking industry. It is also worth noting that Representative Denham’s campaigns have received more than $193,000 from the trucking industry since he first ran for Congress in 2010. Continue reading
Non-compete agreements (NCAs) are an increasingly popular tool of employers in today’s global and competitive economy. As a general rule, California law does not allow for enforcement of NCAs against an employee after he or she leaves the company. This anti-NCA stance is, in fact, so well known that one technology company (Veeva) has sued its rivals, asking the court to declare that the NCAs they make employees sign violate California law. The Recorder report that the rival companies claim that Veeva is merely after their intellectual property. Regardless of the politics behind the lawsuit, it is almost inevitable that the non-compete agreements will be deemed unenforceable against California employees.
Despite the broad prohibition against NCAs in California, there are other tools available to employers looking to protect intellectual property. There are also several important applications of NCA law which employers are wise to understand. Continue reading
Our Costa Mesa employment lawyers recognize that such agreements are serving to limit entrepreneurial growth, with businesses defending the practice as a simple protection of their own investments and interests.
Really, it’s a way to stifle potential competition (which could prove harmful to consumers). It may also serve to keep workers tethered to a potentially toxic work environment because they fear the legal ramifications if they leave to seek other related employment or strike out on their own.