MONEY Food & Drink

Here’s What Warming Oceans Are Doing to the Lobster Industry

lobster-shifting-north
Jeff Greenberg—Getty Images

The lobster population is moving.

A slow start to the lobster season sent prices creeping slightly upward this summer—but it’s lobstermen in southern New England, and not consumers, who have taken a real hit.

Warming ocean waters are causing lobster populations to shift to the north, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, and the shift is ending business for many lobstermen in Connecticut and Rhode Island. In 2013, the amount of lobster caught in the New England region south of Cape Cod was reportedly just 3.3 million pounds, nearly one-seventh of the total at the industry’s peak in 1997. Maine fishermen, meanwhile, have reported lobster catches exceeding 100 million pounds for the past four consecutive years; the lobster population in the Gulf of Maine is believed to have doubled since the mid ’90s.

Lobster lovers who aren’t on the supply side, fret not: The shift is unlikely to have much of an impact on the price of your summer lobster bake.

But for southern New Englanders who have made their living in the lobster industry, this aspect of climate change will mark a drastic change in their livelihoods. As of 2013, Connecticut was down to less than an eighth of the 160,00 lobster traps it had at the turn of the millennium; Rhode Island, meanwhile, halved its rate of issuing commercial lobster licenses since 1998.

MONEY

More Young People Have Simply Stopped Looking for Jobs

summer-jobs-young
Getty Images

Summer jobs are on the decline.

Unemployment among young Americans fell to its lowest level since 2007 last month—but the explanation may not be one you’d expect.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate among people in the 16-to-24 age category fell to 12.2% this July from 14.3% a year ago; the Wall Street Journal reports that it’s now in line with the historic national average for unemployment. But the rate of Americans in this age group actually participating in the work force is just 60%, or 9% less than the historic national average for labor force participation.

In short: Fewer young people are marked as “unemployed” this summer because fewer young people are looking for jobs.

This marks a departure from the former summer status quo. Up until about 2003, the rate of labor-force participation among young Americans exceeded that of the general adult population. Summer work—as a waiter, an ice cream scooper, a lifeguard, a summer camp counselor–was a rite of passage. Now, summer employment among the young not only lags behind employment for adults generally, it’s also on the decline.

The WSJ offers up a few possible explanations for this phenomenon: young people may be dissuaded from pursuing jobs by having to compete with older, more skilled workers who were laid off during the recession. They could also be volunteering, “volunteering” as unpaid interns, traveling, studying, or just reading a book poolside. Slate offers up another reason for the demise of the teen summer job: the automation of entry-level jobs.

Whatever the reason, one thing seems certain: summer’s getting less lucrative.

Read next: Here’s Why the Summer Job is Disappearing

MONEY Finding a job

Need a Job? These 5 Fields Are Hiring Like Crazy

Companies are desperate for qualified candidates.

The unemployment rate in America keeps inching downward, measuring 5.3% in July, compared with 5.7% in January 2015 and roughly half the level it was during the worst of the Great Recession circa 2009.

The fact that life has gotten better (or at least more stable) for employees in a wide range of careers means that businesses have a harder time finding eager, aspiring job candidates—especially the kind of experienced, well-qualified ones that are most in demand. Here are a handful of fields facing big worker shortages right now.

Read next: How Do You Actually Land Your Dream Job?

  • Teachers

    High school precalculus teacher
    RJ Sangosti—Denver Post via Getty Images

    According to Education Week, there are now 100,000 fewer public school teachers than there were in 2008, before the Great Recession caused budget cutbacks and broad layoffs. State budgets have since rallied, and school districts all over the country have gotten the green light to hire many of those teachers back. But because the number of students training to be teachers declined significantly during the recession years, it’s been very difficult to find qualified candidates for the large number of openings.

    The New York Times is reporting that cities like Charlotte, Louisville, Nashville, and Oklahoma City—as well as pretty much everywhere in California—need new teachers so badly that they are “hiring novices still studying for their teaching credentials, with little, if any, classroom experience.” Aspiring teachers who are bilingual, and/or who are capable of handling math, science, and special education are particularly desirable candidates.

     

  • Chefs

    Chef in kitchen
    Cyrus McCrimmon—Denver Post via Getty Images

    Not long ago, restaurant owners had it pretty easy when they needed to hire a new chef. There was an abundance of qualified candidates for almost any opening, and restaurants could give a few aspiring employees a test-run in the kitchen before hiring anyone. Lately, however, the tables have turned. According to one restaurant owner who recently spoke to Fortune, it’s more typical nowadays for a dozen different restaurants to be fighting over the same single qualified chef to hire.

    The reasons for a shortage of quality chefs mostly boil down to two factors: 1) there have been a flood of new restaurant openings (perhaps 50 in a city like Denver, whereas 10 openings per year is more typical); and 2) the impatience of younger, debt-ridden culinary employees, who aren’t as game as those in the past to learn the craft as low-wage kitchen staff and work their way up the rungs.

  • Construction

    A carpenter carries lumber inside a house under construction.
    Daniel Acker—Bloomberg via Getty Images

    The housing bust took a huge toll on construction workers, to the tune of two million lost jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal. Now that the construction business has picked up again substantially, large building companies are struggling to find all of the experienced, qualified carpenters, plumbers, and electricians they need to keep up with the pace of the work.

  • Skilled Manufacturing

    Automation machinist
    Michael Ciaglo—AP

    The shortage of skilled manufacturing workers has been growing for years. The number of American manufacturing jobs that remained vacant was reportedly 600,000 a couple of years ago, and a 2015 report estimates that a skills gap will result in two million jobs going unfilled over the next decade.

    Average manufacturing wages have crept up to just over $25 per hour, compared with $24 in 2013. But at least some of the reason manufacturing firms have a hard time finding good workers is that the majority of Americans rank manufacturing low as a career choice. It seems that many think of assembly line and production workers, who tend to make wages of sub-$20 per hour, when they imagine a career in manufacturing. Relatively few think of engineers and machinists—the higher-paid kinds of skilled workers manufacturing companies need so badly.

  • Health Care

    Circulating nurse
    Dina Rudick—Boston Globe/Getty Images Circulating nurse

    In Michigan, hospitals have created paid apprenticeships to help attract and train medical assistants. Montana recently hosted a series of summer camps to expose high school students to careers in health care and medicine. Colleges in Florida, Wyoming, Nebraska, and beyond are ramping up outreach and educational programs to entice workers to enter a career in health care. These are among the many strategies being employed to address the looming shortage of doctors, aides, nurses, and other health care workers—who are in demand more than ever as more Baby Boomers retire and more Americans get access to treatment via Obamacare.

TIME justice

California Court Gets One Step Closer to Deciding Uber’s Fate

An Uber ride in Washington on April 8, 2015.
Andrew Harrer—2015 Bloomberg Finance LP An Uber ride in Washington on April 8, 2015.

Lawyers argued over whether 160,000 Uber drivers in California can be treated as one class

For Uber’s lawyers, the case heard before theirs in a San Francisco courtroom on Thursday may have looked like a harbinger of future woes.

California Northern District Judge Edward Chen was going over the details of a $227 million settlement that FedEx, a 44-year-old company with close to the same value as 6-year-old Uber, agreed to pay earlier this summer. That payout should end an argument over whether FedEx misclassified 2,100 drivers as independent contractors in California and thus denied them benefits that employees get like overtime pay, reimbursed expenses and meal breaks. Soon Uber’s lawyers would be before the same judge arguing about the same classification question — with respect to about 75 times that many drivers.

At stake in a suit that could shape the future of the on-demand and sharing economies was the question of whether 160,000 Uber drivers in California can be treated as a single class. Uber’s lawyers argued that they cannot, that there is no such thing as a “typical” Uber driver and that it would make more sense for each driver to bring their own case — an expensive undertaking that most drivers likely wouldn’t pursue.

On the other side was Boston-based lawyer “Sledgehammer Shannon” Liss-Riordan, who spent a long, heated afternoon arguing that three Uber drivers should be able to stand in for all current and former drivers in the state. If Chen sides with her when he rules in the coming weeks, that would make this single suit potentially worth billions and capable of setting a precedent that sends other startups reeling to revamp their business models.

Following in Uber’s tracks, a long string of startups have shaped their business models around treating drivers or couriers or cleaners as independent contractors rather than employees. That’s a much cheaper proposition but it requires that companies give up control. While contractors legally can’t be told when or how to work, they also don’t have to be paid minimum wage or given money for the gas they use on the job. Uber doesn’t have to shell out any payroll taxes for independent contractors or pay them workers’ compensation.

Liss-Riordan, who was given her nickname by American Airlines skycaps after winning them a six-figure settlement in a wage-and-hour case, argue that Uber is really an transportation company using technology to pose as mere software licenser in order to save money and unfairly compete. The company exercises the kinds of control that employers do, she has argued, setting the rates that drivers earn per mile, telling them which models of cars they can drive and kicking them off the platform for getting low ratings.

In the arguments over the diversity of Uber drivers in California, questions arose about what all the drivers want — and whether it matters. Theodore Boutrous presented some 400 declarations from drivers who said they loved being contractors, that they didn’t want their status to change, that they cherished the freedom that their status affords them. If they were employees, “the business model would have to change,” Boutrous warned, “and there would be rigid schedules and this flexibility and this autonomy couldn’t exist.”

Liss-Riordan countered by offering a declaration from her paralegal, who had called about 50 of those drivers to ask if they understood the stakes. “They didn’t realize they could be reimbursed for expenses,” she said. “They didn’t really understand what this was about.” Chen questioned Boutrous’ claim that their flexibility would have to evaporate if they were reclassified, saying those drivers may have been under the impression that things would have to change rather than be within Uber’s discretion to change.

A growing group of startups who began their lives using the contractor model are reverting to more traditional employment, saying that they’re willing to pay the extra costs to have more direct control over their workers and their process. Curtis Lee, CEO of on-demand valet company Luxe, says that they hope that as employees their valets will be more likely to stick around and be more dedicated to the company. They still will not be required to work a minimum or maximum amount of hours as employees, he says, though they will start scheduling them in shifts. Lee also says that he doesn’t think the conversion is right or fair to force on every company. “For Uber, it’s a totally different situation,” he says.

Boutrous spent his day arguing that point, cataloging how some the 160,000 have agreed to 17 different terms of agreement, some of which forbade them from driving for other companies like Lyft while their Uber app is on (which many drivers do). He detailed how some have used Uber to start their own small businesses while others turn on the app just a few hours per week. While some of them do rely on Uber to make a living, others use it for a little extra cash or to make their car payments. “These are real live human beings who vary widely,” he says. “It’s a hornet’s nest.”

The day ended with Chen inviting the lawyers for the two remaining cases on the docket to approach the bench. Like Liss-Riordan, both of them were arguing cases against Uber, involving issues like how the company conducted background checks. Boutrous stood and reintroduced himself as the counsel representing the company in case after case. If Chen rules that the 160,000 drivers can go ahead as a class, that might make Uber more seriously consider settling that suit amidst its own hornet’s nest of legal troubles.

TIME Business

5 Things You Need to Know Before Changing Jobs

Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

5 insights with links to the research backing them up:

For more on how to find the perfect career for you, click here.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

How to Fulfill the Promise of the Americans With Disabilities Act

People participate in the first annual Disability Pride Parade in New York City on July 12, 2015.
Stephanie Keith—Getty Images People participate in the first annual Disability Pride Parade in New York City on July 12, 2015.

Ensuring equity, access and inclusion is a shared responsibility

In July 1990, President George H W Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in an action that “gave voice to the nation’s highest ideals.”

As we celebrate 25 years of ADA, we can see the significance of this law. The ADA challenged discrimination and helped remove many barriers, so people with disabilities could lead independent lives.

Today, there are roughly 56.7 million Americans, comprising 19% of the civilian population, with some form of disability, who are able to participate in mainstream society.

More than 700,000 students are enrolled in American public and private colleges and universities with documented disabilities including dyslexia, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), sensory and mobility issues, mental illness, and health impairments.

But what is important to note is that the promise of ADA cannot be fulfilled unless those without disabilities act on its “clear, strong, consistent and enforceable standards.”

In my work as an experienced special educator, I have observed allies for people with disabilities across the country among students, faculty and administrators who recognize their role in fulfilling this promise.

So how are they advocating for people with disabilities on their college campuses? They are creating change by sponsoring inclusive organizations, teaching to specific learning needs and making campus policies more equitable.

A proclamation of emancipation

The ADA was brought in to ensure that people with disabilities get equal opportunities to fully participate in all aspects of community life, to live independently and to achieve economic self-sufficiency through the removal of barriers that prevent their meaningful inclusion in American life.

The ADA builds on 20 years of disability-specific legislation to eliminate the historic and pervasive isolation and segregation of Americans with disabilities. Before that, they were viewed as objects of pity, unable to work, go to school or live on their own.

The ADA altered this view by making buildings, transportation and services change so people with disabilities could participate.

Former Senator Tom Harkin, the chief sponsor of the ADA in Congress, referred to the law as the “20th century emancipation proclamation for people with disabilities.”

In 2008, new amendments to the ADA broadened the standard used to define a disability and extended protections to individuals with substantial limitations in a variety of major life activities including reading, concentrating and working.

The amendments also extended protections to those using a variety of supports such as cochlear implants, hearing aids and prosthetics.

In short, the ADA is not just about people with disabilities; it is about society at large. Ensuring equity, access and inclusion is a shared responsibility.

What has changed on campus

So, how are some of these changes reflected in today’s society? I see this every day on our campus: students and faculty using wheelchairs, accessible e-readers for those with low vision, sign language interpreters and other technologies that allow people to learn and to work.

As an instructor, I get help from the campus disability resource center to make sure I provide reasonable instructional accommodations in my classes, such as repeating or clarifying directions, or providing a note-taker, to students who need them.

Today’s undergraduates grew up in a post-ADA world where people with disabilities are expected to be included in, not segregated from, campus life. Many attended elementary and secondary schools alongside students with disabilities.

They are used to interacting in classes, clubs and community activities with friends and peers whose disabilities are just a part of life.

Early experiences have prepared these young adults to interact with increasing numbers of people with disabilities on campus. About 11% of college students have documented disabilities. Their full-time enrollment grew by 45% and part-time enrollment by 26% between 2000 and 2010. There are also about 250,000 higher education faculty memberswho have disabilities.

College leaders use strategies such as universal design and disability education to prevent discrimination against students and employees.

The concept of universal design means making things accessible and desirable to as many people as possible. For example, curb-cuts in the sidewalk were made for wheelchair users, but are used by everyone.

Architects use principles of universal design in building dormitories, classrooms and labs.

Universal design also applies to curriculum materials and teaching methods, such as presenting content and encouraging students to participate and respond to instruction in a variety of ways.

Programs in disability education and disability studies promote campus awareness about the experiences of people with disabilities and advocacy for social change. Courses can be taken at most universities to reduce the stigma still associated with disabilities.

On my campus at the University of Florida, students from different fields, including business, design, engineering, nursing, education, prelaw and medicine, enroll in the Disabilities in Society minor so they will be prepared to interact successfully with future coworkers, customers and neighbors with disabilities.

Way forward

However, despite these 25 years of advocacy, for many Americans with disabilities, equity and inclusion are still out of reach. And more needs to be done to fulfill the promise of the law.

Stigma and stereotypes are still perpetuated on college campuses, where students with disabilities tend to leave school after two years and graduate at half the rate of their classmates. They are also employed at half the rate of workers their own age who do not have disabilities.

Up to now, the most common experience of people with disabilities has been discrimination. Perhaps the greatest success of the ADA would be that discrimination would no longer be a shared experience in the future.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Law

How to Convince Your Boss That You’re an Employee—Not a Contractor

Many employers illegally classify employees as contractors to avoid paying certain benefits

Correction appended, July 21

The federal government is cracking down on an increasingly common labor practice of misclassifying employees as “independent contractors,” to avoid paying them benefits or payroll taxes.

The practice has been in the spotlight recently because of companies like Uber, which relies almost exclusively on contractors, but it exists across the economy, in industries including home health care, janitorial work, construction, sales, publishing, food service, garment work and hospitality. In the last fiscal year, the Department of Labor returned $79 million in back wages to 109,000 workers, after investigations showed that they were being treated as contractors even though they deserved the wages and benefits of employees.

To continue informing the public about the difference between contractors and employees, the Department of Labor published new guidelines last week based on the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, the law that establishes rules for minimum wage and overtime. TIME spoke to employment experts to help explain the rules and answer common questions.

How do I know if I’ve been misclassified?

The best way to truly know is to consult a lawyer or call the toll-free number for the Wage and Hour division in the Department of Labor listed on this website. Employment law is pretty complicated, and depending on the details of your job, the labor violation can cut across a number of different laws and agencies including the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board and the IRS.

But when it comes to wage and hour laws, much of it is based on how much an employer controls your time and exerts power over your work, and how much you depend on the employment of that single employer to make a living. It’s work taking a look at all of the official guidelines. But factors include things like how integral the employee’s service is to the employer’s core business. A carpenter who works for a construction company, for example, is more likely to be an employee than someone who creates a special software program for the company to track its bids. Another factor has to do with who determines how the work is done. If you are a specialty carpenter who only makes handcrafted cabinets and offers them to many different companies, you are more likely to be an independent contractor than someone who comes to work every day and executes a supervisor’s orders.

If I think I’ve been misclassified, what should I do first?

The first thing you should do is to either call the toll free number on the Department of Labor’s website, or get legal advice from a lawyer.

What if I don’t want to get a lawyer involved or file a complaint with the Department of Labor? Wouldn’t it be better to just address it with my employer informally?

That’s the last thing you should do, said Carole Vigne, staff attorney and director of the wage protection program at the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center in San Francisco. “Don’t informally walk into the bosses office and say ‘I think I’ve been misclassified.’ The problem is evidence. You want to create a record, and that’s really the best way to protect yourself against retaliation,” she told TIME. Save your pay checks. Take detailed notes every day of your start time and end time, your tasks, and when and whether you take meal breaks. The more information the better. If you are going to address your employer, she advises to do it over email to create a record.

A spokesman for the Department of Labor agreed. “One of the best bits of information I could give employees or contractors, before or after they contact us, is keep written records of the hours that you work,” the spokesman said. The Department of Labor even provides a time sheet app for your phone that makes it easy.

Making a complaint may not be realistic if you need the steady income your job provides. But Vigne suggests paying attention to the statute of limitations in your state—you can always take action after you’ve left. In California, the statute of limitations for willful misclassification of an employee is three years.

I’ve noticed that other employees who work at my company might be in the same situation. Should I complain alone, or see if they’ll join me?

Rachel Bien, a partner at Outten & Golden in New York, who specializes on wage and hour litigation, said it’s usually a better idea to make a complaint in a group. “Unfortunately its really tough for individuals go it alone,” she told TIME. “That’s why you’ve seen [the] most change when large groups of workers who have been misclassified come together and try to address it collectively in a class action lawsuit.”

Vigne, the employment lawyer from San Francisco, said if you aren’t involved in a big class action, there is strength in numbers even if it’s just two or three employees. The National Labor Relations Act protects employees who organize, even if they aren’t members of a union.

I don’t want to get involved in a lawsuit! Is there anything else I can do?

Yes. For some employees, particularly those in vulnerable low-wage jobs, the best avenue may be to go to the Department of Labor. If you call the toll free number (1-866-487-9243), the department will refer you to the best agency to help you. Sometimes it will be Wage and Hour, sometimes it will be the IRS, and sometimes, if you work in a state like New York or California with laws that are more favorable to the worker than federal laws—they’ll advise you to go to the state. The Department of Labor’s wage department has offices in every state, and usually a complaint will result in an in-person meeting or a phone call.

What happens if I make a complaint?

If it falls under the purview of the Department of Labor, they’ll start an investigation. If the Department of Labor believes there is a violation, there will usually be a comprehensive investigation of the entire business and its practices, along with an onsite visit. Investigators will not tell an employer the name of the complainant, or even that the investigation started because of a complaint.

In most cases, said the Department of Labor spokesman, the complaints result in an employer changing its practices, and paying the workers what they are owed.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the name of the lawyer at Outten & Golden iwho specializes on wage and hour litigation. She is Rachel Bien.

TIME Labor

Uber Challenges Class-Action Lawsuit in New Motion

Uber
Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images The Uber Technologies Inc. logo is seen on the ground at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 26, 2014.

The company's lawyers argue that the 160,000 Uber drivers in California have "little or nothing in common"

Uber filed a motion in a California court Thursday opposing a class action lawsuit against the company, marking the latest salvo in the increasingly pitched battle over how workers are treated in the multi-billion dollar on-demand economy.

The lawsuit filed in California’s Northern District Court alleges that Uber drivers in California should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. Uber challenged the certification of the class in its motion, arguing that the more than 160,000 Uber drivers in the state have “little or nothing in common,” aside from having downloaded and used the Uber app “at some point over the past six years.”

The suit is one of several pending cases that could have profound implications for the on-demand economy, which includes some of the world’s hottest technology startups. Companies like six-year-old Uber, now valued at $50 billion, have been able scale fast in part because they classify many of their workers as independent contractors, which frees them from costly obligations like remitting payroll taxes and paying worker’s compensation and other duties that typically accompany an employer-employee relationship. Nor does the company reimburse drivers for expenses like gas and car maintenance, which the lawsuit alleges are owed to tens of thousands of drivers for years of work.

In its motion, Uber argues that a successful class action suit “could force Uber to restructure its entire business model.” It could also have a ripple effect across the burgeoning startup culture, leading other companies with similar structures to recalibrate. In addition to the case against Uber, lawsuits challenging the status of workers are pending against Lyft, Uber’s chief U.S. rival; Postmates, which offers on-demand delivery; Homejoy, which offers on-demand cleaning; and Instacart, an on-demand grocery shopping service.

The lawyers pursuing these cases believe that the companies are skirting labor laws by identifying themselves as technology platforms that connect willing workers with users who need services, rather than, say, a taxi service that employs drivers. “They’re claiming there’s something new and different because their services are provided through technology, through a smartphone,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the suit against Uber, told TIME in an earlier interview. “But there’s nothing new about this.”

Uber is adamant that they are not a traditional employer. Its motion challenging the class certification emphasizes the variety among drivers, the different amounts and ways they use Uber’s app and the various terms of agreement they have with the company. The filing also included declarations of from about 400 drivers in the state, many of whom say they value the freedom of the current arrangement and don’t want anything to change. “I don’t want anyone to take away this flexibility by suing Uber,” writes an L.A.-based UberX driver named Janice Fry.

The company says a ruling against it could eliminate that independence. “As employees, drivers would drive set shifts, earn a fixed hourly wage, and lose the ability to drive using other ridesharing apps as well as the personal flexibility they most value,” Uber said in a statement.

For example, Uber emphasizes that many of its drivers also work for competing companies like Lyft and Sidecar, and sometimes have multiple companies apps on at once. In its motion, Uber claims the suit “would force drivers to pick one app over all others.”

Yet that would only be the case if Uber and its competitors required drivers to do so under a legal principle known as duty of loyalty, which gives companies the right to sue two-timing workers. The companies could instead lay out terms that allow employees to work for more than one ride-app outfit. “They could promise to waive that right,” says Sachin Pandya, a law professor who specializes in labor and employment at the University of Connecticut. “There’s no prosecutor going around charging workers for being disloyal.”

But certifying the drivers as employees could introduce other tricky questions. If an employee-driver is riding around with both Uber and Lyft apps on, for instance, which company would be on the hook for reimbursing them for gas? Which company would need to make sure they take legally required breaks?

To showcase the variety of situations that Uber drivers are in, the company states that there are 17 different terms of agreement that drivers have agreed to over time. They emphasize that while some drivers essentially work full-time, others use Uber to supplement income from a part-time job, or hire subcontractors. While some follow Uber’s “suggestions” on how to act or dress or comport themselves, others do not, they say. Drivers work when they want, where they want, as much as they want, being paid per job rather than being assured minimum wage and overtime. Drivers can choose to accept requests or contact Uber to ask for a fare to be lowered (if they made errors), they write.

Many of these details speak to arguments about control over a work environment that are key elements of arguments over employee status. How much control Uber has in writing, and in practice, can heavily weigh judges’ opinions about how workers should be classified. In a recent California Labor Commission ruling, for instance, a commissioner deemed an Uber driver to be an employee in part because Uber was “involved in every aspect of the operation.”

That ruling determined the status of only one driver, and Uber has appealed it. If the district court lawsuit is certified as a class action, it has the potential to affect far more workers. A hearing is scheduled for August.

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