The Gig Economy v. Assembly Bill 5San Jose, CA
When the Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) was signed in September 2019, Uber and Lyft said they'd sponsor a ballot initiative to take the issue to California voters in November 2020. To date, over $110 million has been raised and more than a million signatures collected to sponsor the initiative known as the "Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act", which could exempt some companies from AB5 written into the California labor law. Labor and employment lawyer Michael Warren with the McManis Faulkner law firm says Uber and others will need more than money and signatures.
California Sues Uber and LyftSan Francisco, CA
On May 5, Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit on behalf of the State of California alleging that Uber and Lyft have misclassified on-demand drivers as independent contractors in violation of the California Labor Code, Wage Orders and Unemployment Compensation laws.
Getting Caught Can Reduce Emergency Room OverchargesSan Francisco, CA
Last year Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital reduced a patient’s emergency room charges from $20,243 bill down to $200—after the patient, Nina Dang, contacted the media. She broke her arm on the pavement in a bike accident. Can’t reach the media? Of course lawyers experienced with negotiating ER overcharges can also substantially reduce hospital costs, both for insured and uninsured patients. “It’s frustrating that I have to hire a lawyer, but so far it’s been worth it,” said another ER patient, Alexa Sulvetta.
Some California Food Workers Choose between COVID-19 exposure or lost wages—will worker safety lawsuits follow?Sacramento, CA
Food sector workers are mostly front-line workers. From farmers to food processors to grocery store clerks, they continue to work to ensure the state’s 40 million residents have enough food during this crisis. And they continue to work even when co-workers have tested positive for COVID-19. If not, they could get fired, despite a new California labor order that provides sick leave for full-time workers exposed to the virus. Are worker safety lawsuits on the horizon?
Hundreds of Documents Unsealed in 3M Defective Earplug LitigationPensacola, FL
Recent unsealed depositions confirm that 3M officials knew their Combat Arms earplugs were defective and that information was withheld from the military. Further, some 3M employees didn’t believe that soldiers “needed to know how to adjust” their earplugs so they would fit properly.
Putnam Investments to Settle 401k Self-Dealing Lawsuit for $12.5 MillionBoston, MA
Participants in the Putnam Retirement Plan have agreed to settle their ERISA lawsuit against Putnam Investments and other Plan fiduciaries for $12.5 million and certain prospective changes in plan administration. Following close on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review the lower court’s determination, the settlement leaves open two important questions that arise in countless 401k mismanagement lawsuits. But by keeping these issues alive, the end of Brotherston v. Putnam Investments
represents a qualified victory for 401k plan participants.
California Suspends Worker Layoff Notifications. Did Velodyne Take Advantage?San Jose, CA Siers v. Velodyne Lidar
is a class action lawsuit brought under the provisions of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and provisions of California labor law that afford employees similar protection against sudden and precipitous layoff. According to Benjamin Siers, Velodyne terminated a third of its workforce with just one day’s notice, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. In the context of Velodyne’s other business activities, however, that reason appears to have been a pretext – a very convenient pretext that relieved Velodyne of time and attendant costs it would otherwise have incurred as it moved production facilities overseas.
Employment Discrimination based on Perceived Sexual OrientationNew York, NY
Vincent White, a partner at White, Hilferty and Albanese, spoke recently with LAS about the thorny problem of employment discrimination based on an employer’s perception (or misperception) of an employee’s sexual orientation. The hardest problem, according to White, is that the discriminatory comment or action often happens behind closed doors, with no witnesses. “It’s an elevator situation,” said White. “The doors close; the offense happens; and the doors open with no one the wiser, except the employer and a very shocked employee.”
Can California Employers Pay Workers with Reloadable Debit Cards?Riverside County, CA
Janelly Sandoval filed a class action lawsuit against Home Depot in Riverside Superior Court on January 31,2020. The lawsuit, which has since been removed to the District Court for the Central District of California, claims that Home Depot violated Sections 201 through 203 of the California Labor Code by paying her final wages by means of a pay card. Between 2017 and 2020, it was allegedly the company’s usual practice to pay workers’ final pay by debit card, regardless of whether they were usually paid by check or through direct deposit.