Dec
27

Shifting Responsibility through Use of Independent Contractors versus Employees

Mainstream media has recently focused a lot of attention on businesses that utilize independent contractors (think Uber, Lyft, or AirBnB). This has even gone so far as to lead some to speculate that traditional employment may be in jeopardy. While this is a significant exaggeration, the overuse of the independent contractor label is very real.

The use of independent contractors by businesses fits much better, or at least more cleanly, in some business models than others (see Uber’s particular, recent legal troubles for an example). The traditional use of independent contractors, often...

Sep
28

Calculating Wages Not Paid: Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo

In a decision earlier this year, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that employees proceeding together as a putative class, or as a collective for claims under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), can demonstrate commonality through statistical evidence that is not particular to the plaintiffs and events at issue. The decision in the case, Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo et al., 765 F.3d 791 (2016)[1] dealt with Tyson employees who stated that their employer failed to compensate them for time putting on and taking off protective gear required for that work. They claimed that...

Apr
8

How the Naughty Employee Is the Employer's Problem

An employee in Minnesota, acting in good faith and within the scope of the employee’s work, is normally protected from direct civil liability by his or her employer through what is typically referred to as indemnification. Minnesota lays out this protection in statute at section 181.970 – Employee Indemnification. It typically covers all damages, penalties, and fines. You can find the statute here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=181.970.

At its heart this law states that an employer, not the employee, is responsible for damages resulting from the conduct of the employee on the...

Oct
14

Home Surveillance in the Digital Age - the Limits of Looking Beyond Your Doorway

Problems with neighbors are not uncommon. Whether your neighbor consistently parks in your parking spot, or paints their house with obnoxiously offensive colors, neighbors are likely to disagree at some point.

Respect for privacy is one of the most desirable traits in a neighbor. Of course, communities are better off when neighbors are welcoming and engage with one another, but we all have the right to privacy if we wish to exercise it. And the overall trend has been towards recognizing greater privacy protections, even while technology and social media increase access to, and distribution...