“An adulterous businessman in southern France is seeking damages of up to 45 million euros ($48 million) from Uber over his wife’s discovery of his extra-marital rides, his lawyer and a report said Friday.” According to the man, he once used his wife’s phone to arrange a ride, and although he logged the account off afterward, it continued to send her alerts that revealed his travel activities to incriminating effect. [France 24]
- Los Angeles hotel workers catching on to real intent of city ordinance carving out sub-minimum wage at unionized employers [Scott Shackford, Reason, earlier] “Why Sports Authority is throwing in the towel and closing all of its stores” [Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Pasadena Star-News]
- “France might pass a law that makes it illegal to send after-hours work emails” [Washington Post]
- Boiled at slightly lower temperature: DoL considering knocking down salary threshold a bit, $47,000 rather than $50,440, for its awful upcoming overtime mandate [Jon Hyman; video from Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, group critical of regs; earlier here, etc.]
- “Eleventh Circuit Reins in NLRB’s Mischaracterization of Independent Contractors as ‘Employees'” [John Park, Washington Legal Foundation]
- “Relax Everyone: NELP’s New Report Says The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Cost Jobs” [Tim Worstall] “The Economic Denialism of a $15 Minimum Wage” [John McGinnis; Chris Edwards/Cato] David Henderson scrutinizes work by left-wing Berkeley economist Michael Reich backing $15 minimum [EconLog]
- Idea of abolishing the tip system, pushed by some labor activists and eyed as a fallback by businesses tied up in wage law knots, meets with huge resistance from restaurant staff in U.S. [NPR]
- “Hillary Clinton Just Turned the Democratic Party Into the Party of the $15 an Hour Minimum Wage” [Peter Suderman]
Read deep enough into this very long New York Times report, and you learn that Air France has been stymied from dismissing some employees it suspects of Islamic radicalization because “individuals were often able to successfully challenge such dismissals in French labor courts”:
Guillaume Pepy, the head of SNCF, the French national railway operator, recently conceded that the country’s anti-terrorist services had alerted the company — which employs 50,000 people — to as many as 10 employees in the last year whom they suspected of having ties to Islamist groups. But rather than fire the employees and risk a costly discrimination suit, Mr. Pepy told a French radio in January that it was SNCF’s policy to ensure that the individuals were not allowed to be train drivers or signal operators or to hold other positions that could pose a security threat.
Other tensions in religious accommodation law:
…At certain bus depots, [a labor union official] said, some male employees wouldn’t take the wheel of a vehicle that had been previously driven by a woman.
“Rather than report the behavior to the authority’s human resource managers, Mr. Salmon said that supervisors simply adjusted the drivers’ schedules and routes to avoid handoffs between women and men. In one case, Mr. Salmon said, a woman who lived within walking distance of her depot asked to be transferred to a job across town rather than stay and continue to endure the harassment….
It’s precisely the employees managers are afraid of who may fare best in winning accommodation:
Paradoxically, [the director of a research institute] said, it is often the employees most open to dialogue who are the first to be pressed to adapt their religious practices, while more troubling behavior is sometimes allowed to continue unchallenged for fear of escalating the problem.
“Radical people make some managers nervous, and so they leave them alone,” Mr. Honoré said.
- More on Venezuela suit in U.S. against Dolar Today, publication that reports black market exchange rates [WSJ, earlier]
- Sehr vorsichtig: “nearly half of all Germans are afraid to voice their opinion about the refugee crisis” [Malte Lehming, National Interest via Andrew Stuttaford]
- Professor in Norway calls for “statutory ban on climate denialism.” [Steven T. Corneliussen/Physics Today, background]
- Scottish newspaper The National to endorse criminalizing “hate speech against women” [@ScotNational] Feminist groups in Scotland and Australia call for legal action to prevent meetups of followers of “pick-up artist” and general-purpose boor Dariush Valizadeh [Sydney Morning Herald]
- Debate on whether Donald Trump should be allowed to enter Great Britain because he sounds too much like a Kipper “exposes the hypocrisy of those who seem the most indignant” [Ian O’Doherty] Maryam Namazie case too: “On both sides of the Atlantic, there has been a noticeable shift toward a more censorious culture.” [Kenan Malik] Make a point of defending free expression and you’ll wind up cozy with odd ducks “simply because it’s the right thing to do” [Ian O’Doherty]
- On anniversary of Charlie Hebdo massacre, two more pieces serve to correct the Garry Trudeau view of the French magazine [Robert McLiam Wilson, Adam Gopnik]
- Toronto man found not guilty in widely watched Twitter harassment trial [National Post, earlier]
- Allowing suits against Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, et al., for comments made by users of those platforms? A perfectly horrible idea [Ken at Popehat, Robby Soave/Reason, a more judicious view of Section 230]
- Wipe that true thing: “France says Google must take ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ worldwide” [WSJ/MarketWatch, earlier]
- MedExpress vs. attorney Paul Alan Levy: “eBay seller who sued over negative feedback dinged $19k in legal fees” [ArsTechnica]
- Copyright takedown order over random ink blotches 
- Weight-loss firm Roca Labs, which took aggressive legal approach toward limiting negative commentary about its products, runs into FTC trouble [Adam Steinbaugh, Ken White at Popehat]
- “California libel retraction statute extended to cover online publications” [Eugene Volokh]
- “Florida Moving Company Attempting To Sue Its Way Back To Yelp Respectability” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
- Another web accessibility settlement from the U.S. Department of Justice, this time Carnival cruise lines [Minh Vu and Paul H. Kehoe, Seyfarth Shaw, my warnings on legally prescribed web accessibility]
- A topic I’ve often discussed: “Has The ADA Broken Its Economic Promises To People With Disabilities?” [Amelia Thomson-Deveaux, Five Thirty-Eight]
- Nebraska meat-packer tried too hard to hire only legal workers, will now pay dearly for asking for too many documents [Department of Justice press release]
- Owing to discrimination, a Colorado couple had to drive a few extra miles to get a cake, and fly 2000 extra miles to get a marriage license. So guess who’s now in legal trouble for inconveniencing them [Jacob Sullum, New York Post] Sen. Ted Cruz sounds as if he might be skeptical of religious discrimination laws as applied to public accommodation, and down that path might be found libertarian wisdom [Scott Shackford, Reason]
- EEOC says University of Denver Law School must pay its female faculty more [Denver Post, TaxProf]
- “Court Rejects The EEOC’s Novel Attempt To Impose Disparate Treatment Liability Without Any Injury” [Seyfarth Shaw; EEOC v. AutoZone, N.D. Ill.]
- Because more coercion is always the answer: France considers ban on “discrimination” against poor [Frances Ryan, The Guardian]
“Calais, France to sue Britain for being a magnet for migrants that are destroying Calais before they cross channel.” [Associated Press]
- If the law was symbolic, consumers were apparently unswayed by its symbolism: L.A. zoning ban on new freestanding fast-food restaurants had no effect on obesity [The Guardian, NPR, Baylen Linnekin, earlier]
- More on draft new federal dietary guidelines: “Report lays groundwork for food ‘interventionists’ in schools, workplaces” [Sarah Westwood, Washington Examiner, earlier, public comment open through April 8]
- Opposition to GMOs is not humanitarian [Telegraph] Washington Post editorial rejects labeling on GMO foods;
- Baker fell afoul of French law by keeping his boulangerie open too often [Arbroath]
- A sentiment open to doubt: “There is a great need for lawyers to utilize their policy and litigation tools in the fight for a better food system.” [Melanie Pugh, Food Safety News]
- “Food policy” progressives “whistle same tune as large food producers on issue of food safety” [Baylen Linnekin, related on single-agency scheme, more Linnekin on competition-through-regulation among makers of wine corks]
- Why restaurant operators need to know about patent trolls [James Bickers, Fast Casual]
Jacob Sullum on why a nation that mourned the murderous attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo over its provocative speech was nonetheless content to let the magazine be sued, and sued, and sued over such speech:
under French law, insulting people based on their religion is a crime punishable by a fine of 22,500 and six months in jail.
In addition to religion, that law covers insults based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or disability. Defamation (as opposed to mere insult) based on any of those factors is punishable by up to a year in prison, and so is incitement to discrimination, hatred, or violence.
In France, antiracism set itself squarely against freedom of speech. The passage of the 1990 Gayssot Law, which punished denial of the Holocaust, was a watershed. Activist lobbies sought to expand such protections by limiting discussion of a variety of historical events—the slave trade, colonialism, foreign genocides. This was backed up by institutional muscle. In the 1980s, President François Mitterrand’s Socialist party created a nongovernmental organization called SOS Racisme to rally minority voters and to hound those who worked against their interests.
Older bodies such as the communist-inspired Movement against Racism and for Friendship Among the Peoples made a specialty of threatening (and sometimes carrying out) lawsuits against European intellectuals for the slightest trespasses against political correctness: the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci for her post-9/11 lament “The Rage and the Pride,” the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut for doubting that the 2005 riots in France’s suburban ghettos were due to unemployment, the Russia scholar Hélène Carrère d’Encausse for speculating about the role of polygamy in the problems of West African immigrants.
Other countries that criminalize “hate speech,” including Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K., Sweden, and Canada, are likewise sending the dangerous message that offending people with words or images is akin to assaulting them with fists or knives. …
Sacrilege may upset people, but it does not violate their rights. By abandoning that distinction, avowed defenders of Enlightenment values capitulate to the forces of darkness.