Earlier this month, “in Lawson v. Grubhub [pdf], a California federal judge granted the gig-employer a huge victory by ruling that [plaintiff Raef] Lawson and all other similarly situated drivers are independent contractors, and not employees.” [Jon Hyman, earlier here and here]
- “The biggest question from Friday’s disappointing Canadian employment report is how much can be traced to Ontario’s sharp minimum wage increase last month.” [Theophilos Argitis and Erik Hertzberg, Bloomberg] Decline in teen employment in US since 2000 was sharpest for those age 16–17, examining some reasons [David Neumark and Cortnie Shupe, Mercatus Working Paper via Connor Wolf, Inside Sources]
- “Will D.C. End Tipping?” [Thomas Firey, Cato] “I’m your bartender. I don’t want a raise.” [Ryan Aston, Washington Post] Hollywood campaign isn’t helping [Wendyll Caisse, Inside Sources on Restaurant Opportunities Center vs. Restaurant Workers of America]
- If freedom of contract had been respected, whole debate would look different to begin with: “A Colorado Minimum Wage Waiver?” [Ryan Bourne, Cato]
- Federal regulatory role: “Will Restaurants Steal Employees’ Tips if the Feds Let Them?” [Robert Verbruggen, NRO]
- Seyfarth Shaw survey: while employers beat more wage/hour cases at the certification stage in 2017, overall class action payouts in workplace class actions continued to soar [Glenn Minnis, Cook County Record]
- “If You Don’t Want To Tip 15%, An NYC Lawyer Will Help You Sue Applebee’s” [Angela Underwood, Legal Newsline]
- Among this administration’s most notable accomplishments — hurrah for Labor Sec. Alex Acosta and team — is to ditch its predecessor’s horrible overtime rules [Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post on opinion letters and internships] DoL rollback of Obama rules on tip pooling is fully justified [Christian Britschgi]
- “A Seattle Game-Changer? The latest empirical research further underscores the harm of minimum wage laws” [Ryan Bourne, Regulation mag] “Report: California’s $15 Minimum Wage Will Destroy 400,000 Jobs” [Scott Shackford]
- It just couldn’t have been Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s fault that some donut-franchise workers saw benefits and breaks trimmed after a minimum wage hike. “Instead, she attacked the employers.” [David Henderson; Robyn Urback/CBC and May Warren/Toronto Metro on changes by owners of some Tim Horton outlets]
- Study: grocery stores hike prices when minimum wage rises, “poor households are most negatively affected” [Tyler Cowen on Renkin, Montialoux, and Siegenthaler paper] New York enacts a minimum wage law applying to restaurant chains with at least 30 outlets, and presto-change-o, some upstate pizzerias have new names and are now separate businesses [Geoff Herbert, Syracuse.com]
- “Employer Responsibilities under the Fair Labor Standards Act After a Disaster” [Annamaria Duran, SwipeClock, promotional material for software product but informative even so]
- If lawsuits succeed in forcing ridesharing into employment mold, many will find it less attractive to earn money by driving [Coyote]
The U.S. Chamber’s annual listing of ten lawsuits it thinks the world could have done without has only three cases that overlap with our coverage here at Overlawyered, including the man who sued his date for texting during a movie, the man who sued Uber for revealing his mistress (in France — the awards have gone international), and the woman who sued over being “deceived” by Jelly Belly beans, which it pronounces the winner.
Its other seven cases include a “time clock” wage/hour suit filed against Starbucks in California; a New Jersey man’s suit after tripping over a Christmas tree (more); one Florida lawyer sues another over “negligent handshake“; also in Florida, woman sues after falling off restaurant’s popular donkey statue; class action plaintiff had asked for “butter” at a Dunkin’ Donuts, got less expensive spread; 15-year-old sues mom for confiscating phone, judge sides with mom (Spain); and woman sues after spill of hot nacho cheese at Texas air force base.
- Spotted in Senate tax bill: what sounds like an excellent proposal to cut off worker-classification lawsuits [Shu-Yi Oei and Diane M. Ring (who take a very different view of the provision) via Caron/TaxProf]
- Federalist Society convention video on future of federal workplace agencies with Alex Acosta and Nicholas Geale of DoL, Victoria Lipnic of EEOC, Philip Miscimarra of NLRB;
- “‘Mistake’ in Pennsylvania homecare contract would have helped unions in fight over healthcare workers” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner; Cato podcast with David Osborne and Caleb O. Brown]
- Automatically worth reading, Claudia Goldin on gender pay gap [New York Times]
- Public sector unions rule in California politics, and pension-spiking is just one of the results [Steven Greenhut] “California Union Bill Looks to Ban Outsourcing Public Services” [same]
- New report from Dana Berliner, Clark Neily al., “Occupational Licensing Run Wild” [Federalist Society Regulatory Transparency Project]
Lawyers will get $858,000 of what is described as the nearly million-dollar settlement of a suit against McDonald’s franchisees in northeastern Pennsylvania that had used debit cards to compensate workers, leading to complaints of fees. “The eight employees named in the suit, or the lead plaintiffs, will receive $1,250 each plus the debit-card fees they paid, according to WNEP. All others — only a few hundred of the roughly 2,400 signed paperwork to collect — will get $100 plus fee reimbursement.” [AP/Wilkes Barre Times Leader]
- San Francisco, Seattle, NYC, Oregon: the new rage for predictable scheduling laws [Sara Eber Fowler, Seyfarth Shaw]
- “Montgomery County Wage Hike Will Drive Business to Virginia” [Emily Top, Economics21, Andrew Metcalf/Bethesda Beat, earlier here, here on the Maryland controversy]
- Truthfulness of plaintiff emerges as sticking point in gig-economy-threatening Grubhub suit [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica, earlier]
- Expecting further $15/hour wage enactments, Shake Shack plans for kiosk and app ordering without traditional cashiers’ counters [Ryan Bourne, Cato] What a former McDonald’s CEO had to say last year about the minimum wage-kiosk nexus [Ed Rensi, Forbes] Related: Twitchy quoting me;
- After restaurateur Danny Meyer moves to no-tip policy favored by labor activists, many servers report drop in income [Eater NY] As USDOL rethinks, will there be an end of tip pooling cases against the hospitality industry? [Daniel Schwartz]
- “Department of Labor’s FLSA Overtime Rule: Where Is It Now?” [Eric A. Welter and Kimberly Kauffman, Welter Law Firm]
Sued over tip division, some popular New York City restaurants switched to service-included pricing. Now, lawyers are suing them over that, calling it a price-fixing conspiracy in violation of antitrust laws and saying that the hike in menu prices was higher than the amount needed to cover servers’ compensation. [Steve Cuozzo, New York Post]
- Will California suit against GrubHub strangle the gig economy? [Cyrus Farivar/ArsTechnica, Megan Rose Dickey/TechCrunch, Jon Steingart/Bloomberg]
- “The War on Work — And How To End It” [Edward Glaeser, City Journal via John Cochrane (“It is interesting that our political class says it wants more Americans to work. Yet there are few activities as hit by disincentives and regulatory barriers than the simple act of paying another person to do something for you.”)
- North Carolina attorney Jonathan Harkavy does an annual Supreme Court employment law roundup of which the latest installment is here;
- Restaurant owner who wrote in favor of higher minimum wage shutters eatery in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood: ““The specifics of the paperwork that restaurants in SF and California have to do are overwhelming….Being an owner-operator is a really taxing job.” [SF Eater, Slate in 2014]
- “Analyzing James Damore’s Employment-Related Claims against Google” [Matthew Bodie/On Labor, one, two, three; related, Suzanne Lucas]
- “New labor code for France?” [Jeff Hirsch, Workplace Prof referencing 2013 article with Sam Estreicher, “Comparative Wrongful Dismissal Law: Reassessing American Exceptionalism“]
When we last examined Allen v. City of Chicago — a case in which a class of Chicago police officers claimed their employer owed them unpaid overtime for their time spent reading emails off-duty on their smartphones—an Illinois federal court had dismissed the claims, holding that most of the emails were incidental and non-essential to the officers’ work, and, regardless, the employer lacked specific knowledge of non-compensated off-duty work.
[In August] – in what is believed to be the first, and only, federal appellate court decision on whether an employer owes non-exempt employees overtime for time spent off-duty reading emails on a smartphone — the 7th Circuit affirmed [pdf].
While under existing precedent an employer must pay for all off-hours work it knows about even if the work is unwelcome and against its policy, it is evidently not required to pay for work that it never learned about at the time because employees ignored a policy requiring them to report it.