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Uber Willing to Pay 100M to Keep Its Drivers Classified as Independent Contractors

Recently, Uber announced that it agreed to pay drivers in California and Massachusetts $100 million in an effort to ensure that the drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees. In just six years, Uber has expanded from its base in San Francisco to over 300 cities across the world. With more than 450,000 drivers using the company’s app each month in the U.S. alone, a determination that its drivers were misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees could be extremely costly for the ride-sharing company, currently valued at $62.5 billion.

What The 100M Uber Settlement Means To All Employers

The ride-sharing company Uber recently announced a preliminary $100 million agreement to settle claims alleging that it improperly classifies its workforce as independent contractors. Because the settlement involves the foremost business entity in the new gig economy, this is a groundbreaking agreement that could provide guidance to many other emerging businesses that take advantage of the sharing environment. For all other businesses, it serves as a stark reminder of the pitfalls that can result from categorizing your workers as contractors.

[UK Law] Exploring the Employment Law Implications of a ‘Brexit’

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) will hold an “in or out” referendum to decide whether it should remain a member of the European Union (EU). If the UK chooses to leave the 28-member European Union, one certain consequence of that decision is that the UK will have the ability to change a significant portion of its existing employment law, which derives from EU law.

Internal Investigative Reports That Lead to Discipline Are Not Exempt Adjudicatory Records under FOIA

An Illinois Appellate Court has further limited the public records that a public body can withhold from disclosure under Section 7(1)(n) of the Freedom of Information Act, which exempts “records relating to a public body’s adjudication of employee grievances and disciplinary cases.” The court held in Peoria Journal Star v. City of Peoria that an internal disciplinary report that was created before any adjudication took place and existed independent of any adjudication was merely an investigatory report, not an adjudicative one. That the report later led to disciplinary action did not make it exempt under Section 7(1)(n).

Deflategate for Labor Lawyers Revisited: 2nd Circuit Reinstates Brady Suspension and Reaffirms Judicial Deference to Arbitration

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reinstated the four game suspension imposed by the NFL on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his role in the infamous “Deflategate” scandal. This decision overturned a district court decision which vacated an arbitration award issued by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell enforcing the suspension.

Perceived Political Expression Protected By First Amendment, Supreme Court Says

In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court today held that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects both actual and perceived political speech and expression by public employees. The unsurprising decision squares with decisions from several lower appellate circuit courts, and should serve as a warning sign for public sector employers. Heffernan v. City of Paterson.

First Federal Appeals Court Rules that Title IX Applies in Transgender Bathroom Case

Yesterday, in a landmark ruling, a federal appellate court decided that under Title IX a transgender student can challenge a school board policy that limits bathroom and locker room access based on biological sex. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit deferred to guidance from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that “[w]hen a school elects to separate or treat students differently on the basis of sex. . . a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.” The decision is important for school districts grappling with this issue, both nationwide and in Illinois.

Arbitration Plan Contained in Employee Handbook Enforceable? Not Without Savings Clause, Fifth Circuit Says

In Nelson v. Watch House International, L.L.C., (No. 15-10531), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision dismissing an employee’s lawsuit against his employer and compelling arbitration. The Fifth Circuit held that the employer’s arbitration agreement, contained within its employee handbook, failed to include a Halliburton-type savings clause that required advance notice before termination of an arbitration agreement became effective—and thus the agreement was illusory and unenforceable.

eLABORate: April 20th Puts Medicinal Marijuana Laws in High Focus

Employers should know that popular culture celebrates April 20th a/k/a “Four-Twenty” as an unofficial holiday. Four-twenty is a code term that refers to the annual consumption of marijuana and the celebration of cannabis culture. Observances that revolve around the number 4:20 include smoking or ingesting marijuana at 4:20 p.m. and during other portions of the day. Because employers may anticipate an unusual number of “call-ins” and/or “no-shows” on April 20th, it is time to review the medicinal marijuana laws and drug testing statutes that impact employment eligibility and other workplace issues.

Game On: Maximizing Workplace Gamification

All work and no play can make anyone dull, as the saying goes – but can playing games at work make a job candidate more interesting?
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