News & Commentary

January 26, 2017

Alexa Kissinger

Alexa Kissinger is a student at Harvard Law School.

Yesterday, an UberEats courier in Tampa, Florida filed a class action lawsuit against Uber’s food delivery service, alleging the service erroneously classified its couriers as independent contractors. According to The Verge, the suit demands couriers be granted benefits typically afforded to full-time employees, and damages equal to unpaid back wages. Although the lawsuit has not been granted class action status, the complaint asserts that the class could include over 1,000 individuals.

Two years ago, Nicola Thorp, then a temp worker at the accounting firm PwC, was sent home without pay for refusing to wear high heels at the office. Yesterday, per The New York Times, two British parliamentary committees released a report concluding that the firm had violated the law by dismissing Ms. Thorp. Additionally, the report concluded that existing law should be toughened to overcome “outmoded and sexist” workplace codes. Under British law, employers can dismiss staff for not complying with “reasonable” dress code demands and can set different codes for men and women as long as they maintain an “equivalent level of smartness.” Britain’s 2010 Equality Act also prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of gender, age or sexual orientation. However, as reported, women’s advocates and legal experts say the law is unevenly applied. Although the firm says it has since rewritten its guidelines, the code as applied to Ms. Thorp mandated a heel height between two to four inches and that a minimum of lipstick, mascara and eye shadow be “worn at all times” and “regularly reapplied.”

JD Supra released a list of ways employers might be affected by the Trump Administration as federal agencies and regulations begin to change. The list includes uncertainty over the ACA, the enjoined DOL overtime regulations, and paid leave.

Actress Mary Tyler Moore — best known for pioneering the role of a single, professional woman on her namesake show — passed away yesterday at the age of 80. Scroll down in The New York Times’s tribute to see a clip of what’s potentially the first instance of equal pay for equal work being raised on a sitcom.

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