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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U.S Labor Department Appoints Dawn Sweeney for This Task Force

U.S Labor Department Appoints Dawn Sweeney for This Task Force

The National Restaurant Association has announced that its CEO and President Dawn Sweeney has been appointed by the U.S. Labor Department to join the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion.

The focus of the task force is to foster career pathways in different industries. 

"The members of the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion will provide varied perspectives that will help guide the administration's strategy on growing apprenticeship programs nationwide. I am grateful for their participation in this important effort," said Alexander Acosta, secretary of labor leading the task force. 

Sweeney will be representing the restaurant industry and will join a team of 20 influential leaders. 

“We are honored to represent the restaurant and hospitality industry as a member of Secretary Acosta’s Apprenticeship Task Force,” said Sweeney in a statement. “Apprenticeships offer career development opportunities that are vital to growing our economy and training America’s workforce. We look forward to streamlining and expanding the apprenticeship program to open additional pathways to achieve the American Dream.”

Restaurant brands like Golden Corral, Firehouse Subs, and FATZ Café will be participating in the program by mentoring apprentices. In the hospitality space, Wyndham, Hyatt, and Hilton will be also offering apprenticeships through the program. 

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