Roundups Law and Policy

Gavel Drop: Did California Just Shake Up the Gig Economy?

Jessica Mason Pieklo

The California Supreme Court just issued a decision that might mean businesses like Uber have to start following employment laws.

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.

The California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision that is all-but-guaranteed to shake up the gig economy. The decision is a complicated one and deals with the test courts use to determine if a person is an employee or an independent contractor. That could mean businesses like Uber would have to follow minimum-wage and overtime laws and pay workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and payroll taxes.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit is considering the constitutionality of a Brevard County, Florida, policy that excludes anyone who doesn’t believe in a “monotheistic God” from opening county meetings with an invocation.

We wish U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor a speedy recovery from shoulder surgery!

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The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled the state can enforce a voter ID law in its May 22 primary election despite the fact a lower court ruled the measure unconstitutional. In 2014, the state Supreme Court struck a nearly identical law as unconstitutional. Since that ruling, conservatives have won a majority of the seats on the Arkansas Supreme Court. We’re just saying.

Meanwhile, the Florida Supreme Court announced it is going to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the quality of public school education students in the state receive. The case, which has been bouncing around in the courts for the last nine years, argues that Florida is not providing a high-quality public education as required in its constitution and challenges not just the funding model but a host of “reforms” then-Governor Jeb Bush ushered in during his tenure.

During U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments on the administration’s travel ban, Solicitor General Noel Francisco incorrectly told the Court that President Trump said in September he had no intention of imposing a “Muslim ban.” Francisco sent a letter to the Court purportedly correcting the error. But, as Joshua Geltzer notes here, Francisco continues to mislead the Court on the purpose and intent of the travel ban.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund has filed two lawsuits alleging employment discrimination on behalf of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.

The State of California is suing an independently-owned franchise of Crunch Fitness for allegedly preventing a transgender individual from accessing a locker room that aligns with their gender identity, claiming the gym intentionally discriminated against the patron by refusing them access to the women’s locker room.

Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit claims Wisconsin is improperly denying Medicaid coverage for necessary medical treatments for transgender residents.

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