It is entirely common for employers to seek consumer reports and background checks on prospective and current employees. However, the law governing how the employer can go about this can be tricky, and if done wrong leads to a massive legal nightmare. The most recent example of this is Gilberg v. Cal. Check Cashing Stores, LLC.
In California, the ongoing litigation around the definition of an employee versus independent contractor and the rules for meal and rest breaks threaten to upend the trucking industry. While these issues are understandably garnering significant attention, there are others across the country that could also have a large impact. Currently, a case in Arkansas may leave the industry forced to undergo massive change.
As discussed previously on this blog, recent legal developments have complicated the business plans of trucking companies that use independent contractors as drivers. These have included the Dynamex decision that changed the 30-year-old test of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, but appears applicable only in certain circumstances and for only certain legal claims. This was followed by lawsuits to invalidate Dynamex and a federal district court decision finding that Dynamex was pre-empted by federal law. Compounding this confusion, California passed a law late last year that exposed large retailers to new potential liability. The bill, SB 1402, meant companies could be jointly liable when they hire companies that have violated state employment laws. Now shippers could be liable for violations caused by the motor carriers they hire.
As discussed previously on this blog, the Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court decision upended California's independent contractor market with a new test for whether a worker will be considered an employee. The new test was particularly problematic for the trucking industry. As such, several cases have arisen to challenge the Dynamex decision. The Western States Trucking Association (WTSA) challenged the case. Additionally, a recent California District Court decision determined federal law pre-empts Dynamex. Of course, there is a still a long way to go before Dynamex's fate is decided.
In its last term, the United States Supreme Court began revamping employee arbitration rights, particularly with respect to class actions. With the current term under way, the Supreme Court has cases in front of it that could further alter these rights.
When Uber entered the market, it began to revolutionize transportation. However, along the way it has faced obstacles that in many instances have found Uber in court. One major issue it's facing is the claim by drivers that they are improperly treated by Uber as independent contractors rather than employees.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced a renewed effort to limit liability for companies with workers that are not engaged specifically by the company. A new proposed rule would protect companies from lawsuits by persons hired by contractors or franchisees.