Ruling Could Turn California Gig Economy Giants’ Contractors Into Employees

Ruling Could Turn California Gig Economy Giants’ Contractors Into Employees.jpg

Uber and Lyft and other similarly situated gig-economy companies are lobbying for Californian democrats to override a recent court ruling that could require them to reclassify their independent contractors into employees. The April ruling was handed down by the California Supreme Court. The far-reaching ruling could make it significantly harder for companies across the industry to claim their workforces are not eligible employees under state wage laws.

Hoping to blunt the ruling’s impact, businesses are urging California political leaders to take action in their favor through legislation or executive action by the governor. Either move would make noise across the national debate regarding rights and roles of workers in today’s gig economy. The businesses affected by the ruling insist that it is stifling innovation and threatening the livelihoods of California workers. They seek a balance between the need for flexible, scalable work arrangements and the rights of California workers and that the definition and implication of said definition should not be simply left to the courts or determined based on old models.

In addition to many popular gig-economy businesses, the California Chamber of Commerce has been quite outspoken in opposing the new requirements indicating that the business model of today’s gig-economy companies does not lend itself to the strict structure of a traditional employer-employee relationship. The chamber argues that forcing this on the companies leaves them in an impossible position and prevents them from continuing forward with their business model. The chamber is attempting to get a legislative fix before the session closes at month’s end. Without this type of fix, they feel entire sectors of California’s economy would be left in jeopardy. As is – without a legislative fix of some sort – the on-demand economy may no longer be a viable business model, which could be devastating as people depend on it.

The California Labor Federation reiterates their support of the ruling and insists they will resist efforts to suspend or reverse. Their stance is based on record highs of income inequality and the millions of working families struggling to make ends meet in what has become an unfair economy. They feel protecting California’s workers should be the top priority of California’s leaders rather than protecting big corporations.

If you have questions about minimum wage, overtime pay, or other employee rights provided by federal and California laws, please get in touch with one of the experienced employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Chicago Cubs Dealing with Age Discrimination Lawsuit: Email Supports Bias Claims

Chicago Cubs Dealing with Age Discrimination Lawsuit Email Supports Bias Claims.jpg

A former Chicago Cubs’ scout filed an age bias lawsuit that took an interesting turn when a California federal judge pointed out the potential significance of an email that included both ratings of scouts’ performances AND what the judge described as “beauty contest” descriptions listing their age and physique.

When the Los Angeles hearing started, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson advised both parties’ attorneys that he would be focusing on how the baseball organizations’ pending motion for summary judgment would be affected by a number of internal scouting department emails. The judge ordered the Cubs to provide these emails to the court.

One email, sent in August 2015 by the Cubs scouting department’s second-in-command, assistant director of pro scouting Andrew Bassett was sent to Jared Porter, a recently hired (at the time of the email) Cubs’ director of pro scouting. The email contained information that is receiving a lot of attention from the court.

The Plaintiff’s attorney describes the contents of the email as a “ranking of scouts like Henderson [the plaintiff].” Bassett’s descriptions of the scouts in the email included references to their age, their families, their body types, and other information. The judge called into question what the physical descriptions included in the email had to do with a scout’s performance on the job – referring to the situation as the baseball organization holding beauty contests for their scouts. Henderson, 65 years old, and other older scouts were ranked poorly according to the internal email.

The Defendant’s attorney argued that all the scout’s ages were listed and that the email was presented in a casual tone, but also contained a fair evaluation of their scouts’ performances. He claimed the Cubs were entitled to summary judgment because the plaintiff was not fired. Instead, his annual contract was simply not renewed. The Defendants argue this does not constitute a wrongful act and is not liked to any sort of alleged discriminatory action.

The judge responded that he would need to review the emails in detail.

If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace of if you are a victim of wrongful termination, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.