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We have to say it: we're a little disappointed in the Uber settlement -- and not because it doesn't give drivers enough cash, or because we'd rather not tip. The settlement means that one of the biggest questions of the modern "gig economy" goes unanswered. We still don't know: are the thousands of on-demand workers, at companies like Uber, Lyft, and Postmates, employees or independent contractors?

Uber announced yesterday that it was settling two massive class actions brought by its drivers. As part of the settlement, Uber will pay $100 million and allow drivers to solicit tips from passengers, but those same drivers will continue to be considered independent contractors by the company.

California Supreme Court Makes It Easier to Sue Over Seats

California's highest court jumped into a surprisingly controversial area of the law yesterday: seating. The California Supreme Court provided guidance to the Ninth Circuit on Monday in a case brought by retail and banking employees trying to sue their bosses over lack of adequate seating -- and trying to form a class action to do it.

The row is over the proper interpretation of key California labor law requiring businesses to provide "suitable seats." So, just what on earth is a "suitable seat" anyway?

May Day came a bit early for workers in the Golden State as the Supreme Court and the state government handed organized labor two major wins. In Washington, D.C., a deadlocked Supreme Court decision helped save public labor unions from a major challenge. In Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown announced that he would raise the state's minimum wage by 50 percent, to $15 an hour.

Let's take a look at these recent victories.

When it comes to labor regulations, farm workers are in a class by themselves -- a class that largely exempts them from normal minimum wage, child labor, and overtime laws. But even that class has subclasses, which privilege certain types of agricultural work over others. If you're a prune dryer in California, for example, state regulations entitle you to more overtime than if you're simply a prune picker.

And those regulations have a bit of a bite, as two farmers learned on Tuesday in California's Third Appellate District court.

Lyft Amputates a Toe to Save the Foot, Settles Class Action Suit

"It looks like Lyft got off fairly lightly here," according to a market analyst commenting on the recent settlement agreement between Lyft and its drivers. Under the terms of the settlement, the ride-sharing company will pay $12.5 million, give concessions, and give drivers notice if they are to be deactivated.

It's good news for Lyft, but not so great news for its bigger rival Uber, whose head is still inching toward the chopping block.

The California State Legislature passed, and Governor Brown signed, more than 800 new laws in 2015, covering everything from physician-assisted suicide, to minimum wage, to beer-tastings at farmers' markets. As is often the case, most of those new laws went into effect at the stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2016.

Here's a quick overview of some of the most significant new laws and how they might affect your life and your legal practice.

'Sharing Economy' Lawyer Wins Uber Class Expansion

The lawyer behind the class actions suits of Uber, Lyft, Amazon and Google is on a roll. Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court in California recently decided that the entire group of Uber drivers can join as plaintiffs in one of the most contested misclassification suits in history.

Appeals Court Reverses $1M Award to Ex-Firefighter in FEHA Case

A California Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's award of $1 million in damages to Los Angeles ex-firefighter Jubari Jumanne who sued the City of Angels under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In reversing the lower court's ruling, the court ruled that Jumanne's claims were brought outside a critical one year statute-of-limitations and that the "continuing violation" doctrine did not apply.

Jumanne's case is reminiscent of situations in which real estate attorneys will (unethically) counsel their clients to disclaim any actual notice of hostile invasion of property.

District Court Dismisses Apple Employee 'Bag Search' Suit

The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California just dismissed the 2013 class action lawsuit brought by a group of employees who claimed the tech giant owed them money for time spent waiting to have their bags searched for stolen contraband.

The court held that Apple actually "took a milder" approach to the problem of employee shrinkage by allowing employees to bring bags and personal devices (PD) to work rather than banning them outright. As a result, the employees will not be compensated for the bag search time.

However, the ruling's language leaves open gaping holes that lawyers love to see. Will an appeal be coming soon?

Two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen granted class status to a group of drivers suing Uber. The drivers allege that Uber misclassifies them as independent contractors when they are in fact employees and entitled to employee benefits.

While the ruling itself is news worthy (we covered it here), so too was Judge Chen's handling of the lawyers, indicating that neither Uber nor the drivers have an easy road ahead of them.