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Labor Week: CA Labor Law, Gig Workers on the Ballot & More

June 17, 2022

High Court Limits CA Labor Law

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that federal law preempts a California law that allows private lawsuits on behalf of groups of workers, even if they had agreed to resolve their disputes through individual arbitration. In an 8-1 vote, the justices said the Federal Arbitration Act supersedes the California statute, the only one of its kind in the country. By doing so, the court said, employees were illegally allowed to escape binding arbitration agreements they signed at hiring.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) called the ruling “disappointing,” but said employees could still bring suits on behalf of others if they did not sign such an agreement. (LOS ANGELES TIMES, COURTHOUSE NEWS SERVICES)

MA High Court Rejects Gig Worker Ballot Measure

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said a tech industry-backed ballot question to change how gig workers are classified in the Bay State is unconstitutional because it contains “vaguely worded provisions” buried deep in a proposal that, in effect, melded two unrelated subjects under a single question.

Under the proposal, companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, DoorDash, and others would have provided workers with some new benefits while continuing to classify their drivers and deliverers as independent contractors rather than employees. But the court ruled the proposal contained at least two “substantively distinct” issues, one of which was masked by “obscure language” that went far beyond just establishing a worker’s employee vs. contractor status.  (BOSTON GLOBE)

 --Compiled by RICH EHISEN

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