GrubHub Drivers Ruled Contractors in Landmark Gig-Economy Case

GrubHub Drivers Ruled Contractors in Landmark Gig-Economy Case

In a landmark ruling Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco concluded that a gig-economy driver does not qualify for the protection of employees under California law.

The decision is the first of its kind, setting a standard for arguments regarding “gig-economy” workers.

The gig-economy has gotten much press as of late. With a number of businesses like Grubhub and Uber working off the model of pairing customers with products and services through apps, many workers have found a new form of income allowing high flexibility in exchange for low skill, low wage, episodic jobs.

However, the case against GrubHub, brought on by Raef Lawson, claimed the company violated California labor laws by not reimbursing his expenses, paying him less than minimum wage and failing to pay overtime. His argument was based on the idea that Grubhub exerts a certain level of control over. The company expects drivers to be available to accept assignments during shifts they sign up for and to remain in designated geographical areas.

Lawson worked as a food-delivery driver with the company for less than six months while pursuing a career as an actor and writer.

At a hearing in October, Judge Corley expressed concern that Lawson’s resume filed with the lawsuit may have tainted the trial because the actor lied about completing a three-year program. The specifics of the program weren’t provided. However, Corley said Lawson was “dishonest” and that the resume “is really problematic to me.”

Charlotte Garden, an associate law professor at Seattle University, said to Bloomberg that Corley’s decision is a “doubly big” win for GrubHub since California’s relatively high standard for establishing workers as independent contractors will mean similar arguments in other states will most likely side with this ruling.

You can read more about this case at "Bloomberg."

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The Food Waste Challenge: Donate Goods, Deduct Food, and Devote Time

The Food Waste Challenge: Donate Goods, Deduct Food, and Devote Time

By Jaclyn Morgan, FCSI, JM Foodservice Consulting, LLC

Let’s be honest, food waste happens at your restaurant. Some trimmings can be composted, some things recycled, but much more ends up in the trash. Unsightly produce, cans of food on the brink of expiration, and extra prepared dishes add up to money flushed down the toilet. Your last bulk order or a menu change may have you seeing red. Per the Green Restaurant Association, a single restaurant in the U.S. produces between 25,000 and 75,000 pounds of food waste in one year.

Now change your perspective. Last year, over 42 million Americans lived in poverty and in a food insecure household. Nonprofit food banks, food pantries, charitable meal programs, and soup kitchens rely on food donations to provide their communities with hunger relief.

Take another look. Nationwide, a staggering 40 percent of food goes uneaten, and most often than not, ends up in a landfill. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that food waste decomposing in landfills creates methane gas, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.

You don’t have to dump a bucket of ice over your head to be aware that your restaurant can be socially responsibility and sustainable. Food waste can become a charitable donation without liability, and your establishment can reap the rewards of tax deductions and community involvement.

So, take the Food Waste Challenge. Here’s how you can donate goods, deduct food, and devote time.

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NYC to Start Posting High Salt Warnings on Menus

If you visit a chain restaurant in New York City in the next week you may notice something new on the menu. Earlier this month, chain restaurants had to add a little black salt shaker next to menu items to warn them about that the high salt level in that dish. In addition to the new icons, chain restaurants will also have to post signage warning about the dangers of increased sodium levels. While the new icons have found some fans among consumers, organizations like the National Restaurant Association have threatened to file a lawsuit against the city because of the measure. The rule comes a couple of years after the measure to put calories on menus so consumers can make informed decisions about what they are ordering.

The measure is obviously meant to help diners in New York make healthier choices, but it begs the question, “how much liability should restaurant owners shoulder when it comes to unhealthy food?” Should menus also begin to show how much fat is in a dish? Will consumers order a certain dish less if they know it's unhealthy?  Read more.

No Gloves, No Sushi? NYC DOH Says Yes.

Some of the top sushi restaurants are pushing back against health inspectors who require prepared food to be handled with gloves. Sushi Dojo and its sibling, Sushi Dojo Express, were threatened with closure by the New York City Department of Health after they were found to be handling sushi without wearing gloves. Sushi Dojo was closed temporarily after being cited for this infraction six times. The chefs and owners feel like they are being discriminated against because traditional sushi preparation requires hand contact with the finished product to feel the consistency of the rice and fish. Using latex gloves doesn’t allow sushi chefs to feel what they are doing. “Sushi is being ruined [by] gloves, freezing fish and more issues,” says owner and chef David Bouhadana.

What’s interesting about this issue is that Bouhadana has admitted that when health inspectors come in he makes his employees wear gloves but otherwise tells them that they don’t have to. It’s a tricky situation since the chefs and the owner are just trying to adhere to traditional Japanese practices and the DOH is just trying to make sure that customers are safe. Should Japanese restaurants be given a pass or have looser rules on wearing gloves? Read more.