More corporate fuckery as far as I'm concerned and it's discouraging to see so many here rush to the misguided defense of 1%ers.
Has nothing to do with defending the 1%ers. In fact, I'd argue quite the opposite. If you define Uber drivers as employees, the price goes up, and the utility of Uber for everyone goes down. That includes drivers who are making money from it today, as well as people who use it to get around.
Yes, it also would help Uber, but it's a piss poor argument to say that we should hate on big companies just because they're big... even if it harms everyone else. Here the interests are aligned.
The measure of success is whether the typically misnamed "Freedom Act" will actually change anything the TLA agencies do. The NSA will still get everything they want - they just have to get the ever compliant FISA Court to approve. The FBI will still write their own warrants, er, National Security Letters. Of course these aren't warrants, they're infinitely better since they don't need meddlesome judges and may come with a permanent gag order. It goes on and on, but this was a wasted opportunity and we ended up with little more than political theater.
I disagree. Is this reform weak? Yes. But it is still reform, and some of the elements are important and useful. But, you are right that it's not nearly enough. Don't be cynical and reject it just because we didn't get everything. Just keep fighting to get more.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt, you screwed the pooch on this one
If you think about it, the driver does NOT provide all the tools\equipment here. The Uber app the driver uses is clearly a tool and a very important one in this.
You're really reaching. The rule is not that you have to supply ALL of the tools yourself. I know plenty of contractors who supply their own computers to work on someone else's software. The use of a software tool is not, as you argue, damaging to the contractor employee question.
Under your ridiculous definition, anyone using eBay or Yelp must be an employee too, right?
Re: Re: Re: Techdirt, you screwed the pooch on this one
For instance "they use their own equipment". many, many tradesmen use their own tools (think technicians, airplane\car mechanics, electricians, carpenters, pizza delivery people) but are employees of corporations.
The IRS's own rules state clearly: "who provides tools/supplies" as a criteria. And, actually, many of the ones you site above *are* considered contractors not employees. Many, many mechanics, carpenters, electricians -- even those working on big jobs -- are classified as contractors.
And take the statement "they work on their own", lots of employees work on their own, but I'm not even sure its true in this case because somebody is administrating the electronic hailing system that facilitates the driver getting a fare. Without the IT people in the data center the driver does not get a fare, so is he really working alone?
This is in response to the IRS criteria of if the company has "the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job?"
That's not true in this case. The driver only is told where a fare is. But from then on, the driver has complete freedom in determining how to do his or her job. That sides with "contractor".
These guys can't just go and be an independent taxi driver at any time. Which gets to the crux of the problem: Uber is an unlicensed taxi company that has been allowed to skirt existing laws and regulations. Yes, some of these regulations are outdated, but many were done for a reason.
Given how many similar services there are to Uber, I think that's wrong. They can absolutely go off and drive for Lyft, Sidecar, Postmates, Doordash, Luxe, Zirx, Shyp, etc. etc. etc.
Re: Sorry Techdirt, your bro love of Uber is blinding you to the law
I actually think there are strong arguments that each of the things you said point towards "employee" actually go the other way:
Behavioral: Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job?
(for Uber: YES )
I don't think so. With Uber the driver decides when to work, where to work, whether to pick anyone up and how to do their job. So... nope. That one says "contractor".
Financial: Are the business aspects of the worker’s job controlled by the payer? (these include things like how worker is paid, whether expenses are reimbursed, who provides tools/supplies, etc.)
(For Uber: YES)
Again, this looks like contractor wins. Yes, the company pays the driver, but that's true of any contracting relationship. Here, expenses are NOT reimbursed, the drive provides the tools and supplies. So... point: contractor.
Type of Relationship: Are there written contracts or employee type benefits (i.e. pension plan, insurance, vacation pay, etc.)? Will the relationship continue and is the work performed a key aspect of the business?
(For Uber: YES)
Again, you seem to be misreading this. There is no pension plan, vacation pay, etc. The only possible point that might go the other ways is on the "work performed" question, but even there it seems sketchy. Uber is a platform. Under your reading, even people who sell on eBay should be considered employees of eBay, since that's a "key aspect" of eBay's business.
So it seems pretty clear to me that Uber drivers are absolutely contractors, even under the rules that you listed.
And, as someone else pointed out in another comment, those are not the only rules the IRS looks at, and almost all of the other ones also point towards contractor.
Am I misremembering something here? I seem to recall that various groups following these issues, such as the EFF, pulled support for it because it not only "doesn't go far enough" but actively makes some things worse, even without McConnell's help
You are. EFF did not say it makes things worse. Just that after the 2nd Circuit opinion, it should be made stronger.
I still agree. But, again, as a starting point, USA Freedom is a small step in the right direction that needs to be followed up with a lot more.
I’ve lost faith in their intention to respect the law. The NSA has a lot of power, operates in a veil of secrecy, and acts in extra-judicial ways with some regularity; surely they never reasonably believed that some piddling executive order and a clearly unconstitutional rubber stamp court gave them actual legal authority. They’ve also “pushed” so hard and so far that boundaries became practically nonexistent; e.g. Clapper brazenly lied under oath, and, by surveilling the legislative branch, the NSA threw our system of checks and balances right out of the window. We should all take anything our government says about surveillance activities with a well-deserved grain of salt.
I absolutely agree that you shouldn't trust anything that they say. And I agree that they will push and probe and reinterpret things to try to get what they want.
But... that's very different than the claim that some are making that they will flagrantly IGNORE the law and just do what they want.
I still think that the NSA couldn't care less what is passed and by whom. They are going to do whatever the hell they want to do and nothing will ever keep them from doing it.
People keep saying this and it's simply not true. Not only that, but it hurts the efforts at real reform that many are working on because it's a cynical response that suggests nothing can be done. It's wrong.
Yes, the NSA will push the boundaries, but it tends to push those boundaries by focusing on the legal authorities it has. Reform can and will work in limiting the NSA.
The government has proven time and time again it's going to do what it wants to, laws be damned. Even if something they do is found to be illegal, no one is ever punished for it
That is not entirely true. For the most part, they will play inside the rules. They will *stretch* the definition of those rules, but that's why strong reform is needed that limits their ability to do so.
The stories of the intelligence community actively breaking the law are very rare.
What the judge did, was put it into the minds of the jury that the patent troll in this case could be held liable for it.
No. He didn't. You have the entire thing backwards. Again. Even though this has already been explained to you. The judge sided WITH the patent troll in this case, not against. You're wrong. The appeals court reversed and then the Supreme Court sided with the troll.
And not because of "bias." Based on your own statements, you disagree with the SCOTUS, not agree with them.
Mike, if I'm not mistaken, the reason patent trolls are allowed to exist is because Democrats AND Republicans have refused to pass any kind of meaningful reform regarding patent reform and you get some bad decisions by judges, like the one in this case, who decided to create a problem with the jury verdict.
You're mistaken. Very, very mistaken.
I give up. You simply appear unable to comprehend what you're posting about.
Mike, nothing confusing about my statement at all. It's like finding someone guilty of a crime they'll commit in the future. This is exactly what the judge did, when he issued his instructions to the jury. The judge's comments basically placed the patent troll in an unfavorable view to the jury and this is exactly why the supreme court overturned the lower court's decision.
Again, you seem to be totally incorrect. The judge's instructions FAVORED the patent holder, not the other way around as you claim. And the Supreme Court ruling sides WITH the lower court, not against it.
You're just wrong.
I'm not saying that patent trolls are a good thing. I despise patent trolls but this is one of those rare cases where the judge in the case made a grievous error. He should never have injected his own opinions into his instructions to the jury and his remarks were biased.
This has nothing to do with bias.
Judges are not supposed to care who wins or loses, they are only to preside over the case and ensure everyone is following the rule of law and the rules of evidence. The judge simply made a bad decision and he got called out for it judging by the Supreme Court's decision.
You don't seem to understand what this case was about. At all.
While I have a mostly negative attitude against patent trolls, I have to say that after reading the article above and what was written in this article, I have to agree with the court's decision. This wasn't about the validity of their patents but rather if they could be held liable for what 'might be infringed' or 'could be' infringed. The judge clearly showed a bias in his statement to the jury.
Huh? If you believed that the statement to the jury was wrong, then you DISAGREE with the Supreme Court's ruling. You seem very confused.