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Corporate espionage is not just a plot device that moves along the plot of James Bond movies, it's also a real thing that actually happens, allegedly at least. A recent class action lawsuit, filed by a ride share driver is alleging that Uber used a top secret spyware program called "Hell" to track Uber drivers that were also driving for their competitor Lyft in order to offer incentives to those drivers to spend more time on Uber than Lyft.

The class action is alleging claims under federal wiretapping, and California's unfair competition and privacy laws. If the allegations are proven, there could be some rather severe consequences for Uber.

While the flashy pseudo-sharing economy start-ups like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and TaskRabbit are known for popularizing the building of empires off the exploitation of contractors, the current trend is pushing away from the contractor-based employment model.

As many companies that utilize contractor based services have learned in the past, mischaracterizing employees as contractors can be a costly, multi-million dollar, mistake. Here are the top three advantages for businesses that choose to hire full time employees rather than rely on contractors.

Maybe you started a family business because you want to love who you work with, to keep the profits in the family, or to establish a brand that will last generations. Or maybe you were just born into it. Either way, managing family members in the workplace may be very different than maintaining those relationships at home. Especially when financial, corporate, and employment laws are involved.

Here are five tips for managing relatives in a family-run small business, from our archives:

A lawsuit out of Harris County, Texas, is making headlines due to the rare allegation of Christian on Christian religious discrimination. While normally discrimination is considered to be a result of one group/class of individuals being favored over a different group/class, sometimes discrimination can occur from within a single group.

Like in this Texas case, individuals can face discrimination for religious, ethnic, or other reasons, because the perpetrators have unrealistic expectations about their own group/class. The Harris County case is alleging that the woman was discriminated against because she was not Christian enough. Specifically, the employee was demoted after complaining about and refusing to distribute religious literature, and she eventually felt forced to resign after her opposition was ignored. Most surprisingly, the employee was told that she "needed to examine her walk with Jesus," whatever that was intended to mean.

When you open a family business, you love the people you work with. But let's face it, none of us like our coworkers all 40 hours out of the week. And when you're working with family, those office tiffs can spill over into the home.

So when it comes time to sever ties with an employee who also happens to be related, things can get a little dicey, both personally and legally. Here's how to handle it.

Study after study has shown that the implicit biases people hold about race, gender, national origin, and sexual orientation, are a very real problem in today's society. Implicit bias refers to the stereotyped expectations that individuals place upon others as a result of societal and environmentally programmed assumptions. Unfortunately, because implicit bias is difficult to detect, management can frequently be completely oblivious to it.

For employers, implicit bias can result in discrimination lawsuits, not to mention catastrophic public relations nightmares. However, one area that employers can really target to reduce implicit gender bias involves employee performance reviews and feedback. Because performance evaluations are critical when it comes to an employee's career advancement, a biased review can have significant and detrimental effects.

Here are tips on how your business can avoid gender bias during performance evaluations. While there is no magic bullet to end discrimination, there are some simple steps that can minimize an employer's risks.

A regional labor court in Sao Paulo, Brazil has done what American courts have either not done or not had the chance to do: ruled that Uber drivers are employees and not independent contractors. As such, the court ordered Uber to pay the driver who brought the case 80,000 reai (approximately $25,000) and provide employee benefits like holiday pay and contributions to a severance fund.

So is this case an outlier when it comes to Uber's employee/contractor distinction, or could it signal an ominous trend for the company?

Google currently appears to be in damage control mode in order to defend itself against Federal Labor Department allegations of a gender pay gap. However, Google has brought all this on itself. For nearly three years, the tech giant has refused to comply with federal compliance investigators' document requests. While the official labor department complaint indicates a preliminary finding of a gender pay gap, the primary issue comes from Google's failure to turn over documents and information.

While Google isn't well known as being a government contractor, the company does in fact receive quite a bit of money for doing government work. However, unlike other federal contractors that accept being subjected to federal compliance reporting to prevent discrimination, Google is asking the court, and world, to just take their word for it, that the tech giant does not discriminate against women when it comes to pay.

Some allergies are serious physical ailments, such that an allergic reaction can be debilitating, substantially limiting your major life activities. George Hirmiz, claimed his Wi-Fi allergy, or sensitivity due to "long-term exposure to high levels of electromagnetic voltage," was such an affliction, and that his employer, a Travelodge Hotel in Chicago never accommodated his disability and even fired him in retaliation for filing a complaint about the hotel's voltage levels to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Travelodge said it fired Hirmiz because he was caught napping in the hotel lobby while a fight erupted nearby. Hirmiz sued, but neither the trial court nor the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals were too sympathetic to his plight.

This week, the New York City police department settled a lawsuit brought against it by the US Department of Justice on behalf of an HIV positive man who was denied a job as a dispatcher. The settlement includes $85K in damages, plus a job offer to employ the plaintiff into the position for which he applied.

The man applied for the position in the summer of 2013 and received a conditional job offer. However, the offer was revoked in December 2013 due to medical disqualification, after he had disclosed his HIV status. The DOJ filed suit alleging that having HIV is considered a disability for the purposes of ADA discrimination, even when no symptoms are present.