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NLRB Says Graduate Students Are Employees

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week the National Labor Relations Board held that graduate students who work as teaching or research assistants at private universities are employees and have the right to engage in collective bargaining. The Board found that the student assistants were employees where they “perform work, at the direction of the university, for which they are compensated.” It further held that, even though they were students as well, “statutory coverage is permitted by virtue of an employment relationship” and “is not foreclosed by the existence of some other, additional relationship that the Act does not reach.” Seems simple enough, but it isn’t. In fact, the Board has reversed itself on this issue several times in the last 16 years. The current Board says that the prior ruling holding that teaching and research assistants were not employees lacks any convincing justification for the ruling and deprives an entire category of workers of the protections afforded to employees. In the prior decision the Board said teaching and research assistants could not be employees because their primary relationship with the university was an educational one rather than an economic one.

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Judge Says $100 Million Not Fair And Reasonable To Settle Uber Class Action

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week federal Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California declined to approve a $100 million dollar settlement in a class-action suit by approximately 385 thousand Uber drivers. The Judge said that the amount was still not enough to be fair and reasonable. The Judge said drivers were potentially owed $700 million in mileage reimbursement, $122 million in tips, $2.4 million in overtime and $30 million in phone reimbursements. Attorneys for the drivers and Uber had agreed on the settlement. The risk for Uber in not settling is it could get hit with a big verdict at trial. There is risk for the drivers as well, however, aside from potentially losing at trial. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing the decision to certify the class of 385 thousand drivers. If that decision were to be overturned, nearly all of the drivers would have to pursue their claims individually in arbitration. When the same thing happened to Lyft in a similar lawsuit, it increased its proposal from $12.5 million to $27 million and that amount was approved by the judge overseeing that litigation. We’ll see what happens here.

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The Glass Ceiling

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Congratulations to Hillary Clinton on becoming the first woman to be a presumptive nominee for a major political party in this Country. I would not wish for my daughter to ever be President. That said, as a father raising a daughter it’s important to me that my daughter believes that all opportunities are open to her if she chooses to pursue them. She’s only 9 now, but kids begin learning about Presidents by that age in school and she is well aware there has never been a woman who was President. I’m not sure whether someone pointed that out to her or if she noticed on her own, but she’s aware. Kids get a lot of input about what they can’t do and/or aren’t expected to be able to do. Clinton’s achievement sends a powerful message about what can be done.

Hillary Clinton clinches Democratic presidential nomination – CNN.com

Hillary Clinton: Madam presumptive nominee – The Economist

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Fines For Failing To Post Notices About Illegal Discrimination Increased

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is increasing the fine for failing to post required Federal nondiscrimination notices to $525 per violation starting July 5, 2016. Every employer that is covered by Federal discrimination laws is required to post notices in prominent and accessible places where notices to employees and applicants are typically maintained describing the Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, equal pay, disability and genetic information. The current fine per violation is $210. Despite the fine, employers continue to violate the posting requirements. 2010 saw the highest number of violations in the last 10 years. Employees who are unsure of their rights should be able to locate and review these notices. If your employer has not complied with the posting requirements, speak up.

EEOC Doubles Fine for Poster Violation – HRWatchdog

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The Bathroom Videotapes

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week Achiote’s, a Mexican Restaurant located in Southern California, settled a sexual harassment suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving a manager secretly using his cell phone to videotape male workers going to the bathroom. The victims of the videotaping complained. One called the San Diego police. An Assistant Manager with Achiote’s was charged with disturbing the peace in connection with the videotaping of his coworkers in the bathroom. However, according to the lawsuit, the restaurant retaliated against those who complained by cutting their hours. The lawsuit followed. Retaliation against employees who have complained of sexual harassment is illegal. If you believe you’re experiencing harassment at work, talk to an employment attorney about your rights.

Restaurant Settles EEOC Suit Over Secret Bathroom Videos …

Waiter Reports Secret Bathroom Camera, EEOC Sues …

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