Fair Labor Standards Act

Uber driver found to be employee and not independent contractor

Posted on June 26, 2015
Posted in Other

A big issue facing Uber and other similar on-demand car service companies is whether their drivers are independent contractors or employees. This classification issue is tricky for employers of all types and sizes — as the lines aren’t always clear and the implications significant. Earlier this week, the California Labor Commissioner ruled against Uber, finding that one of its drivers was an employee and not an independent contractor and thus entitled to reimbursement for expenses under California law. (Barbara Berwick v. Uber Technologies, Inc., State Case No. 11-46739 EK). Uber is appealing that ruling, but it faces similar challenges in other venues, including a class action lawsuit over the same issue in federal court.…

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Retaliation Claims–Beware the Trickle-Down Effect of the “Wishes of the King”

Posted on January 15, 2014

Generally speaking, when an employee clearly violates established policy, employers feel pretty comfortable terminating that employee, regardless of his past complaints of discrimination or about overtime, particularly where other employees have been fired for violating the same policy.  Not so fast, warns the First Circuit in Travers v. Flight Services & Systems, Inc., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 24706 (1st Cir. 2013). Joseph Travers was a skycap employed by Flight Services & Systems, Inc., which provided services to JetBlue.  Travers filed a lawsuit alleging Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations against JetBlue in April 2008 and then amended the complaint to include his employer as a defendant about a year later.  The CEO of Flight Services was very vocal in his disdain for Travers and the legal action he had taken and, according to Travers’ supervisor, repeatedly told the supervisor to get rid of Travers and talk him into dropping the lawsuit.  In September 2010, while the motion to conditionally certify the FLSA case in Travers’ case was still pending, Flight Services received a complaint about Travers from a customer.  She reported that Travers had solicited her for a tip.  Flight Services’ employee handbook specifically bars the solicitation of tips.  Travers was first suspended pending investigation and then terminated by a general manager, with the approval of the Director of Human Resources.  Travers filed another lawsuit asserting retaliation.…

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