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Walmart to Pay $65M Settling Lawsuit Over Cashier Seating

Walmart cashiers in California won a landmark victory in their class action suit, Brown v. Walmart, for the right to take a seat. Though denying any wrongdoing in this nine-year-old federal case, Walmart agreed to pay $65 million to nearly 100,000 current and former cashiers, preventing the case from going to trial later this year. The company also agreed to provide seating for its California cashiers. The settlement still needs approval by a federal judge.

Google Settles Age-Bias Lawsuit

Google recently settled an age discrimination lawsuit originally filed back in 2015, and later certified as a class action in 2016. Though details of the settlement are undisclosed, it appears the number of plaintiffs represented in the suit ranges from 231 to 238, and are aged 40 and older. The suit was seeking monetary and non-monetary relief. The parties have yet to settle the non-monetary relief, but according to plaintiffs' attorney, Daniel Low, "the monetary component will encourage Google and others to look at their hiring practices in terms of older workers."

Uber Wins 9th Circuit Case: Drivers Can't Bring Class Action

Based on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, a Ninth Circuit panel had no choice but to unanimously overrule a lower court's decision, forcing most Uber drivers to resolve their matter of Employee vs Independent Contractor in arbitration, and thereby decertifying the class action brought by the Uber drivers.

Servers, Bartenders Claim Wage Violation for Non-Tipped Labor

Servers and bartenders won an important battle in their war on earning a living wage. An 11-member en banc panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that tip credits cannot be used when a server or bartender is performing non-tip credit tasks, so long as at least 20 percent of the employees tasks are non-tip credit related.

If you asked a layperson, they would probably guess that job opportunities for people of color have never been better, and that corporations are getting more racially diverse. But that's not always the case, especially in the financial sector. Bloomberg reports that major banks have been losing more and more black workers every year, and JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., has seen its share of black employees drop six consecutive years, from 16 percent in 2011 to 13.4 percent in 2017.

Those numbers were reported along with a $24 million settlement between JP Morgan and six current and former employees who claimed the bank's discrimination against black financial advisors was "uniform and national in scope."

Ever since former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman began making headlines for audio recordings and allegations detailed in tell-all book about the Trump administration, the non-disclosure agreements supposedly signed by all staffers have come to light. Porn actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal also purportedly signed NDAs regarding their relationships with the president in exchange for hush money.

But are these agreements enforceable? A New York judge recently ruled that some of the provisions of nondisclosure agreements signed by Trump staffers -- those compelling arbitration rather than lawsuits -- are not, at least when it comes to claims of harassment and sexual discrimination.

Starbucks Must Pay Workers for Opening and Closing

Off-the-clock work in California, though not facing extinction, had its wings clipped today in a landmark California Supreme Court case. If your employer asks you to do one more thing on your way out, he may very well have to pay you for that.

Back in 1925, Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act, which states that agreements to arbitrate disputes "shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable." Ten years later, Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act, a federal law that protects the rights of certain employees to unionize, collectively bargain, and to work together for "mutual aid and protection."

And in 2018, it was time for the Supreme Court to decide if these two laws were in conflict, and if employment contracts including a clause requiring employees to waive their right to resolve disputes through joint legal proceedings, and instead arbitrate their claims individually, were enforceable. But where employers and employees saw conflict, the Supreme Court found compatibility, ruling such clauses don't violate federal employment laws.

Gig Workers Win Major Ruling at California Supreme Court

As housing costs soar and workers try to bring in more income, Californians who have been working as independent contractors may have to be re-categorized as employees thanks to a recent California Supreme Court ruling. The court's decision applies a standard used in a few other states, and could have a significant effect on "gig workers" such as Uber, Lyft, and Amazon delivery drivers.

Even cases that don't go a particular plaintiff's way can have larger and more positive ramifications for an entire community. Engineer Nicole Wittmer's claims against Phillips 66 -- that the energy company refused to hire her because she's transgender -- could be one of those cases.

Though a federal judge in Texas ruled that Wittmer lacked the evidence to prove discrimination in her particular case, the judge also ruled that federal employment law protecting workers from sex discrimination also applies to sexual orientation and gender identity. Meaning LGBT plaintiffs in other employment discrimination cases could benefit, even if Wittmer lost.