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30 Sep New bill would make Uber and Lyft drivers employees

The California State Senate has passed Assembly Bill 5, which would transform the state's rules around independent contractors, likely turning Uber and Lyft drivers into employees. If signed into law, the bill would restrict the use of independent contractors. Such a change would profoundly impact California's labor market. In particular, AB 5 would affect thousands of gig economy workers. This includes Uber and Lyft drivers and couriers for delivery apps such as Postmates and DoorDash. It could also affect Amazon warehouse workers and delivery drivers. New rules for determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor AB5 codifies and expands the California Supreme Court’s groundbreaking 2018 decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Charles Lee. In that case, the court adopted a new test for determining when a worker is an employee. Under the new "ABC Test," a worker is presumed an employee and will deemed so unless the employer proves that: (1) that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact; (2) that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and (3) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed. Uber and Lyft do not treat their workers as employees, but AB 5 would likely require them to do so Under previous law, employers could usually treat workers as independent contractors as long as they did not exercise direct control over workers’ schedules and tasks. This regime allows companies such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and DoorDash to treat their drivers and couriers as independent contractors. Under the rule codified in AB 5, companies must show that the worker performs work outside of the core of their business. Because transporting people is so central to Uber and Lyft’s business, it will be difficult for such companies to avoid treating their workers as employees. The effects of being an independent contractor are significant While it may see like a subtle distinction, the practical effects of being an independent contractor, as opposed to an employee, are significant. Many labor and employment laws apply only to employees. For example, in some circumstances, companies can pay independent contractors below minimum wage. Additionally, employers must also carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover all employees, but not independent contractors. Perhaps most critically, much of the state and federal law that prohibits employment discrimination does not apply to independent contractors. Accordingly, independent contractors often have no legal recourse for harassment and discrimination. Unsurprisingly, misclassification is common in California. The Department of Industrial Relations estimates that misclassification costs the State $7 billion per year in lost payroll tax revenue. Even if AB 5 is signed into law, employers will undoubtedly continue to misclassify workers. Uber and Lyft say they wont classify drivers as employees Uber and Lyft have already announced that they do not plan to reclassify their drivers as employees if the bill becomes law. They argue that they are technology companies, not transportation companies. Therefore, they contend that their drivers do not perform tasks that are core to their business. If AB 5 becomes law, this argument will surely be tested in court. AB 5 now goes to Governor Newsom, who is expected to sign it into law AB 5 now goes to Governor Gavin Newsom for signature. Newsom has already announced his support for the bill and will likely sign it. AB 5 would go into effect on January 1, 2020. For updates on AB 5 and more, follow us on Twitter. If you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, contact the Khadder Law Firm for a free consultation....

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30 Sep Court grants new trial in French Laundry discrimination suit

The Khadder Law Firm is pleased to announce that the Honorable Judge Victoria Wood of Napa County Superior Court has granted a Khadder Law Firm client a new trial in her pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against renowned Chef Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, and the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. For several years, our client worked at Per Se, a Keller restaurant in New York. During a 2016 visit to California, she became interested in transferring to The French Laundry in Yountville. After speaking with management at The French Laundry, our client believed she had secured a position there. Before starting at The French laundry, she discovered she was pregnant. After The French Laundry learned of the pregnancy, it told our client it had no position for her. The French Laundry then denied that it ever offered our client a transfer. She retained the Khadder Law Firm and filed suit in Napa County Superior Court in September 2016. After a month-long trial during May and June of 2019, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants on each of our client's four claims. The Khadder Law Firm, along with our co-counsel, moved the court for a new trial. On September 5, 2019, Judge Wood ordered a new trial as to each of our client's four claims. Judge Wood’s order acknowledges significant irregularities in the jury deliberation process. Additionally, Judge Wood found multiple instances of attorney misconduct by the defense. Based on the strength of our client's evidence and the jury verdict, Judge Wood concluded that these irregularities were prejudicial and that “a new trial is most certainly warranted.” As of now, the court has not set a date for the new trial. If you believe you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation....

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05 Apr Working overtime to keep up

What if my employer gives me more work than I can accomplish in 40 hours and I'm working overtime to keep up Sometimes an employee ends up working overtime to keep up with their work. But what if your employer hasn't authorized your overtime? What if they don't know that you're working nights or weekends to keep up? Can you recover pay for that time? In general, an employer can prohibit you from working overtime. But, if you work that time, you should still be entitled to overtime pay, at least as long as the employer hasn't told you not to work any overtime. Especially if your employer gives you more than 40 hours of work. If they tell you, “Don't work more than 40 hours,” but you do so anyway, that’s different. In that case, you may not be able to recover overtime pay. But, if they give you the work, and they don’t tell you not to spend as much time as you need? Then you are entitled to overtime pay. Each case is different. If a court was looking at it, they might adjust how much overtime pay you are entitled to. In doing so, the court will consider the specific circumstances of how you worked those overtime hours. Another factor is whether the employer knew about the overtime. If you believe that your employer has failed to pay you overtime that you have earned, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For more, follow us on Twitter....

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02 Apr Overtime claims and record-keeping

A common issue arises regarding overtime claims and record-keeping, or the failure to keep records. Both California and federal law require employers to pay overtime to eligible employees. If your employer hasn't paid you overtime to which you're entitled, you can bring a lawsuit against your employer to recover that pay. In most cases, you can prove your claim using your employer's records. But what if your employer hasn't kept records of your overtime? Proving overtime claims and record-keeping It's more difficult to prove your claims if your employer doesn't have adequate records of your hours. Fortunately, California has laws regarding overtime claims and record-keeping. California law requires employers to keep and maintain records on the hours that their non-exempt employees work. If they fail to do so, they can be liable for penalties under the California labor code. Therefore, if your employer is complying with the law, you should be able to prove your claim with their records. But even if they don't, the law still allows you to pursue your claims. Proving claims without your employer's records Ideally, your employer has records that accurately reflect how much overtime you've worked. But this isn't always the case. While this can make things more complicated, it's not fatal. For example, suppose an employee sues her employer for failure to pay overtime and the employer hasn't kept records of that overtime. Typically, the court will allow the employee to estimate the amount of overtime they have worked. The court will take that into consideration in determining how much the employee can recover. The more precisely you can estimate the overtime, the better. If you believe that your employer has failed to pay you overtime that you have earned, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For more, follow us on Twitter....

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28 Mar Wage and hour laws apply to undocumented persons

Wage and hour laws apply to undocumented persons. Immigration is a matter of Federal Law. But under California State Law, employers cannot withhold compensation based on your immigration status. Whether you can recover the compensation that you should have been paid depends on a number of factors. But, you are entitled to all earned wages. Your immigration status does not change this. Because wage and hour laws apply to undocumented persons, you should consult an attorney to pursue potential claims, regardless of your legal status. If you believe that your employer has violated California wage and hour laws, contact the Khadder Law Firm Today for a free consultation. For more, follow us on Twitter....

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