California cheerleaders have a new reason to cheer today after Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill guaranteeing basic employee rights for cheerleaders. The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, herself a former cheerleader, comes after a series of lawsuits by professional cheerleaders who alleged they often worked without pay or even simple employment protections.
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Just in time for your hay fever, fireworks injuries, and debilitating sunburns, expanded sick leave rights are coming to California workers. Starting the first of July, the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act will give California workers access to paid sick leave if they work over 30 days a year. The bill allows employees to earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked.
The new law is expected to expand paid sick leave to millions of workers who previously had little access to leave or no paid sick leave at all. The Act should cover about three quarters of California's low-wage workers and applies to full-time, part-time, and temporary workers.
Uber has long tried to play itself off as simply a middleman, just dispatching independent drivers to consumers through its app -- and taking a big cut of their fare. Nothing but logistics, right? Not according to the California Labor Commission, who ruled today that the extensive control Uber has over its drivers makes them employees, not independent contractors.
The ruling is a major blow to the company, which has long resisted classifying its drivers as employees. Treating drivers as employees will require Uber to pay for Social Security, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, work expenses and other costs, all of which have been borne by drivers until now.
Ellen Pao, the former junior partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, lost her gender discrimination lawsuit against the firm on Friday. In a case that made headlines, Pao had claimed that she was not promoted because of her gender, was subject to harassment, and faced retaliation when she complained.
Pao's case included salacious details, what her attorneys argued was "despicable, malicious, oppressive treatment," as well as allegations of subtle double standards faced by women: things like not being invited to outings or being subject to contradictory, irreconcilable evaluations.
The Silicon Valley anti-poaching mega-class-action has turned into quite the show: First, there were estimates that the suit could cost the companies involved (Adobe, Google, Intel, and Apple) billions in damages. Then, it settled for a relative pittance: $324 million. An objecting plaintiff, and a motion to intervene by a bunch of mass murderers later, the settlement was nuked and a trial date was set.
Now? While the four tech titans appeal Judge Lucy Koh's holding that the settlement was unreasonable, other lawyers are lining up to take on other tech companies that may have had similar anti-poaching agreements in place.
Here are five things to know about the latest Silicon Valley anti-poaching lawsuits:
Uber is finding itself "disrupted" right into federal court, this time over allegations that it's charging users a 20 percent gratuity but not paying that to employees -- excuse me, partners (because they're not employees and Uber isn't operating a transportation company).
On Wednesday, Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco granted part of Uber's motion to dismiss, but left in place an unfair trade practice claim.
A divided California Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the idea that a franchise parent company can be automatically held liable for the acts of a franchisee. The 4-3 decision will surely make waves, as the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel decided last month that McDonald's could be held liable for labor violations of franchisees.
The case involves a Domino's franchise and an employee claiming that a manager had been sexually harassing her. She complained about the harassment to corporate headquarters, took a week off work, then resigned soon afterward, believing that the manager had reduced her hours as retaliation for reporting the harassment.
The dust is still settling after Hobby Lobby, in which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of exempting closely held corporations from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, but Californians may not feel the aftershock.
Why? California has laws in place that require employers to include birth control in their prescription drug coverage. But these laws don't cover the same legal ground as the healthcare mandate.
So how will Hobby Lobby affect Californians?
We've been waiting for the Iskanian decision for some time, and as predicted, it changes a lot when it comes to California employment law.
California has been an employee-friendly state for a while, with its Supreme Court holding previously that arbitration clauses that waive class action remedies were often unconscionable and unenforceable. But then, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a series of pro-arbitration rulings, including AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, which wiped out that entire line of California cases by holding that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts state law and allows for such waivers.
The facts of this case are pretty unremarkable. Guy (Arshavir Iskanian) drives a limo, gets into a dispute with his employer (CLS Transportation). Guy sues.
Except, there was an arbitration clause. The trial court ordered arbitration, pursuant to the employment contract. An appellate panel reversed, with instructions for the trial court to consider Gentry v. Superior Court, a California Supreme Court case that, in limited circumstances, allows parties to escape "unconscionable" arbitration clauses.
The trial court certified a class, but then AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion happened, hitting the reset button, and sending the case back to arbitration. Now, the California Supreme Court, on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 9:00 a.m., will hear arguments about whether Gentry remains good law after AT&T Mobility.