News & Commentary

August 17, 2020

Randon Herrera

Randon Herrera is a student at Harvard Law School.

A Florida judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit by Florida teachers challenging the state’s plan to reopen schools amid the pandemic. The suit, filed by the state’s largest teachers’ union, challenges an executive order issued early July by Florida’s education commissioner. The order requires all public and charter schools to open this month. While parents can opt into virtual schooling in many cases, all schools are required to provide an in-person option. The plaintiffs, representing over 140,000 school employees, claim that the order violates a state constitutional mandate to ensure safe and secure school environments. While the suit will proceed, the judge urged the parties to settle the matter through mediation as soon as possible.

As other parents prepare their kids for virtual school, Bank of America and Citigroup announced plans to provide benefits to workers who have to balance work and homeschooling responsibilities. The banking companies apparently recognize the fact that many parents rely on schools to provide childcare during much of the year. That burden now falls on many parents and disproportionately affects working women. One survey suggests that the pressure of balancing work and homeschooling responsibilities has up to a third of parents in the US considering switching jobs or leaving the workforce entirely. Bank of America and Citigroup are responding to this potential childcare crisis by providing their employees with benefits such as discounts on childcare services and virtual tutoring, as well as additional compensation. Time will tell if these benefits are enough to support the companies’ working parents and if more companies will follow their lead.

A San Francisco District Attorney is striking the latest blow against gig companies by seeking an injunction to require DoorDash to immediately reclassify its workers as employees in California. DA Chese Boudin originally sued the delivery app company in June after it failed to comply with California’s AB-5, a law requiring gig companies to classify workers as employees.  As Rund reported on Friday, AB-5 is the same law that a California court found Uber and Lyft in violation of. Boudin’s case against DoorDash is set to go to trial in early October, but the DA is seeking to require DoorDash to immediately reclassify so that its workers can receive much needed employee benefits.

Chipotle is being sued for allegedly discriminating against nursing working mothers. The plaintiff, a former employee, claims that nursing Chipotle employees were not given enough time to pump breast milk while she worked there. She alleges that on at least one occasion she was denied a breast pumping break which led to a humiliating accident. After being berated by her manager, she called Chipotle’s corporate office to file a grievance but never received a response. The plaintiff argues that Chipotle’s indifference to her rights constitutes a form of sex-based discrimination. She is also seeking class certification for all former employees who were denied breast pumping breaks or were harassed for requesting a break while employed at Chipotle.

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