Special To California Business Journal.
Historic labor rulings were already in the works at the start of 2020.
California was set to embark on a sea change of labor law with the passage of Assembly Bill 5. Thousands of independent contractors officially became employees, thanks to legal efforts aimed directly at rideshare companies Lyft and Uber.
Now, with the pandemic comes an entirely new world of issues. Unemployment law has never been more critical.
As an employee, navigating this epic uncertainty can be overwhelming. Whether its unemployment or any other type of labor issue, a qualified labor lawyer possesses the proper knowledge, dedication, and experience needed to represent you.
Why You Needed a Labor Lawyer in Early 2020
As of January 2020, California was the first to take on Lyft and Uber’s increasingly unfair policy of having drivers work under an independent contractor status. Assembly Bill 5 laid out a clear definition of what it means to be an independent contractor.
The ABC Rule. Knowing Where You Stand
Assembly Bill 5 sought to eliminate the gray area that kept rideshare drivers working under the rules and guidelines of employee status without any of the protections. Now, to qualify as an independent contractor, a worker must meet all three criteria of the ABC rule.
According to the ABC rule, a worker must:
- Perform work independently
- Perform work that is different from what the business does
- Offer their services to other companies or the public
The law does not name Uber or Lyft directly, nor does it intend to focus on them. Many employers throughout California and the U.S. have likely taken advantage of independent contractor status.
The assembly bill took shape after a California Supreme Court decision involving Dynamex Operations West. The package delivery company had been unlawfully changing the status of many of its workers from employees to independent contractors. The illegal act boosted profits.
To add another layer, many workers would prefer not to operate under the independent contractor status.
In some instances, the tax benefits are greater for independent contractors. For example, some laborers in construction, janitorial, and trucking industries operate as their own, single-person small business and incur expenses. It is essential to be able to write off the costs of doing business, and you can’t do this as an employee.
Arbitration Laws Change How You Can Resolve Disputes
Closed-door, private arbitration meetings have long been the employer’s chosen method for dispute resolution. It’s cheaper and brings less bad publicity than going to court. While employers can still legally require arbitration to resolve disputes, they can no longer retaliate by threatening or firing you if you don’t sign on.
While mandatory arbitration may still be legal, you may find yourself needing council in workplace disputes that end up in this process.
Are you unsure if you are an independent contractor or employee? Is your workplace still treating you as an employee, even though you meet the ABC qualifications as an independent contractor?
Has a workplace dispute left you feeling unduly threatened? Were you at risk of losing your job because you refused arbitration?
Whatever type of labor dispute you are facing, nothing helps you as much as knowing your rights. An experienced, knowledgeable labor law attorney will advocate for you. You don’t have to face your employer alone. Contact us today to see how we can help.
Why You Need a Labor Lawyer Now
You may be one of the millions of newly unemployed workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If early 2020 was a watershed time in employment history for California, then mid-2020 through the foreseeable future is a tsunami.
Understand Your Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment law has taken on new meaning now that the pandemic has put so many out of work. It will mean survival for millions of workers, and knowing how to access your benefits is critical in the coming months.
While each state has its unemployment insurance, you should be familiar with the Corona Virus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This is the mammoth relief bill recently signed into law. It is also essential to understand how federal and state unemployment laws relate.
Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) Monthly Payments
With a lot still not understood, this much seems clear: the CARES Act entitles unemployed workers to $600 monthly payments. These additional payments are above and beyond the promised $1200 one-time payment that’s Americans are supposed to see in the coming weeks.
According to the Unemployment Insurance Program Letters (UIPLs) 15-30, this $600 pay applies to you if you meet any of the following guidelines:
- You qualify for unemployment insurance in your state
- You get sick from COVID-19 and can’t work
- You are eligible for some other type of unemployment insurance (for example, if you are a federal worker, ex-military or have additional disaster insurance)
In other words, if some other entity (the state, the feds, or another insurance program) can vouch for you being unemployed due to the pandemic, then you may qualify.
You Don’t Have To Go It Alone
So many more lives will depend on unemployment laws in the coming months. With state unemployment offices overwhelmed, there is still so much unknown about the benefits that may or may not be there.
Perhaps you are trying to navigate this chaos as an independent contractor, or you might have been in the middle of an employment dispute when all this happened. You did not ask for your employment disputes to be this difficult.
In a state of such deep anxiety, a labor law attorney is one of the best assets you’ll have if you are facing unemployment issues.
Attorneys for Every Labor Issue
The wave of unemployment has affected every aspect of labor law, adding an extra layer of complexity to what we thought we knew. From labor strikes to unjust termination, to employment rights to paid leave and personal protective equipment. Needs previously unthought-of are now commonplace.
Talk to a labor lawyer today. We can make sure you have the most current information in this time of uncertainty.