This is a follow up on our previous post, "Attorney for plaintiffs in Uber employment misclassification suit seeks class-action status." On September 1, 2015, U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order certifying a class of California drivers who allege that Uber Technologies Inc. ("Uber") misclassified them as independent contractors.
In cities and towns across the United States, millions of Americans are barely getting by. For those individuals who earn minimum wage, every dollar must be budgeted and spent to afford basic necessities like housing, food, clothing and transportation. In cases where an individual is supporting a family, it requires a lot of ingenuity to stretch every dollar to make it until the next paycheck.
A May 7 New York Times expose last spring shed light on activities of rampant wage theft within the U.S. nail salon industry. Almost exclusively, the workers who are exploited are immigrants from Asian countries who speak little to no English and have little to no understanding about U.S. labor laws, especially those pertaining to wages.
An employee's wages generally make up a very big part of their financial lifeblood. How much in wages they receive can impact a variety of aspects of their life such as what sorts of expenses they can take on, what sorts of things they are able to do for their family and what sorts of long-term financial goals they can realistically pursue. Thus, one of the things employees generally care greatly about is getting paid fairly for the hard work that they do. Consequently, an employee can feel very troubled when they come across things that make them suspect that their employer may be violating wage and hour laws and not paying employees as much as they should.
Previously, an individual who was in need of transportation had to look up and call the number of a cab service who then dispatched a taxi driver to a customer's location. Today, ride-share car services like Uber and Lyft are taking the place of traditional taxi services and drivers by connecting people in need of transportation with motor vehicle owners in their area via an app-based system.
U.S. businesses are required to follow and abide by various legal rules and regulations. Many of the laws that govern U.S. business activities are in place to protect consumers and the environment. Additionally, regulatory measures have been enacted to ensure for the safety and wellbeing of employees as well as to safeguard against unfair and deceptive business practices.
When an employee blows the whistle on an employer and files a qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the government, the government can choose whether or not to join the lawsuit. If the government investigates the case and decides not to join, the whistleblower can still go ahead with the lawsuit and, if successful, receive a percentage of any amount that is recovered.
In the workplace, technology has been credited with improving efficiency and in general making it easier for employees to communicate with superiors, colleagues and customers. Increasingly, however, many workplaces are using technologies like laptops, email and smartphones to exploit workers who are expected to essentially be on call and respond to work-related matters during the evenings and on the weekends.
Government customers of United Parcel Service Co. (UPS) overpaid the company because it falsified delivery records over a 10-year period, according to a lawsuit UPS recently settled. The whistleblower suit was filed by a former driver and manager for UPS. Now he is expected to receive $3.75 million for bringing the allegedly false claims to the attention of the federal government.
In 2007, a lawsuit was filed against energy giant Edison International, alleging that the company violated the Employees Retirement Income Securities Act of 1974 (ERISA) by offering employees higher-priced retail class mutual funds as retirement plan investments when what were basically the same funds could be had under lower-cost institutional shares. The class action against Edison was brought on behalf of about 20,000 employees and retirees.