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Uber and Lyft faced tough questions from California judges as they seek to keep classifying drivers as contractors



Dara Khosrowshahi, Logan Green are posing for a picture: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Lyft CEO Logan Green Laura Buckman/Reuters; Carlo Allegri/Reuters


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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Lyft CEO Logan Green Laura Buckman/Reuters; Carlo Allegri/Reuters

  • A California appeals court heard arguments on Tuesday from Uber and Lyft as they appeal a recent ruling that would force the companies to reclassify drivers as employees.
  • A lower court determined in August that Uber and Lyft drivers are employees, not contractors, under the state’s gig work law, AB-5, but delayed enforcing the ruling while the companies appeal it.
  • Uber, Lyft, and other gig companies have fought AB-5 aggressively, pouring more than $180 million into a ballot measure aimed at California voters that would permanently exempt them from the law.
  • The companies argue reclassifying drivers as employees will reduce their flexibility, while proponents of AB-5 say Uber and Lyft’s business models rely on underpaying drivers and skirting labor laws. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A California appeals court heard oral arguments Tuesday from Uber, Lyft, and the state over whether a lower court reached the right conclusion in August when it ruled that the companies’ drivers are employees under the state’s gig work law, AB-5.

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Judges from California’s first district Court of Appeal pressed lawyers for Uber and Lyft over drivers’ wages and autonomy, and questioned the companies’ arguments that AB-5 would require them to reduce drivers’ flexibility, according to The Washington Post and The New York Times reporter Kate Conger.

The judges also asked a lawyer for the state about potential harms to Uber and Lyft and drivers’ preferences around their employment status, according to reports.

The landmark case could fundamentally alter the contractor-based business model that Uber and Lyft have relied on, and the companies are aggressively fighting the law in court and via a ballot measure that California voters will decide on in

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3 years later, Tubbs Fire survivors seek justice after contractors allegedly fail to rebuild homes

It has been three long years since Sonoma County’s Tubbs Fire nightmare.

3 years later, Tubbs Fire survivors seek justice in alleged home rebuild fraud

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It feels like yesterday to those who survived.

For a crowd gathered with signs outside the Sonoma County courthouse Friday morning, it feels more like an eternity.

“I’m still not over it. PTSD for three years, now,” said Ellen Lencher.

She and others in the crowd lost homes in the fire and money, they say, to Sal and Pam Chiaramonte.

RELATED: Santa Rosa contractor Chiaramonte Construction responds to complaints about rebuilds of homes destroyed in Tubbs Fire

The contractors from Tulare County promised to rebuild 39 houses at Central Valley prices. They did not deliver on most of them.

“And even after the time the realized they would not be able to do what they promised, they continued to take money from people,” said attorney Richard Freeman, who represents many of the victims in a civil suit.

Friday’s scheduled court appearance provided the first time that many of the Chiaramonte’s customers had seen the couple since signing their papers.

The contractors answered no questions.

“No we are not allowed to say anything,” said Sal Chiaramonte, though he and his wife did hear an earful.

VIDEO: ‘Two years stronger together:’ Tubbs Fire survivors reflect on firestorm anniversary

“Scumbag. You’re not even man enough to look at us,” shouted one man in the crowd.

“We’re not going away,” added another.

Elsewhere, the Santa Rosa Fire Department rang a ceremonial bell 24 times in honor of 24 lives lost that night.

More than 5,000 homes burned. Almost a quarter of them were in Coffey Park, where the Chiaramontes set up shop, as Pam told us in the spring in 2019.

RELATED: Tubbs

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3 years later, Sonoma County Tubbs Fire survivors seek justice after contractors allegedly fail to deliver on promise to rebuild homes

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) — It has been three long years since Sonoma County’s Tubbs Fire nightmare.

It feels like yesterday to those who survived.

For a crowd gathered with signs outside the Sonoma County courthouse Friday morning, it feels more like an eternity.

“I’m still not over it. PTSD for three years, now,” said Ellen Lencher.

She and others in the crowd lost homes in the fire and money, they say, to Sal and Pam Chiaramonte.

RELATED: Santa Rosa contractor Chiaramonte Construction responds to complaints about rebuilds of homes destroyed in Tubbs Fire

The contractors from Tulare County promised to rebuild 39 houses at Central Valley prices. They did not deliver on most of them.

“And even after the time the realized they would not be able to do what they promised, they continued to take money from people,” said attorney Richard Freeman, who represents many of the victims in a civil suit.

Friday’s scheduled court appearance provided the first time that many of the Chiaramonte’s customers had seen the couple since signing their papers.

The contractors answered no questions.

“No we are not allowed to say anything,” said Sal Chiaramonte, though he and his wife did hear an earful.

VIDEO: ‘Two years stronger together:’ Tubbs Fire survivors reflect on firestorm anniversary

“Scumbag. You’re not even man enough to look at us,” shouted one man in the crowd.

“We’re not going away,” added another.

Elsewhere, the Santa Rosa Fire Department rang a ceremonial bell 24 times in honor of 24 lives lost that night.

More than 5,000 homes burned. Almost a quarter of them were in Coffey Park, where the Chiaramontes set up shop, as Pam told us in the spring in 2019.

RELATED: Tubbs Fire victims say contractor is not making good on their rebuilds

“We’re not some

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Contractors Seek Clearer, Uniform Guidance for Returning to Offices

A lead trade association would like federal agencies to issue uniform guidance for their contractors’ return to workplaces amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The approximate 4.1 million federal contractors play an integral role in the functioning of the government, but are often managed differently than the 2 million federal employees. After calling on the Trump administration to issue guidance regarding telework at the onset of the pandemic, the Professional Services Council, which represents over 400 companies that work with the federal government, now would like to see agencies issue some form of uniform guidance regarding returning to workplaces. 

The Office of Management and Budget and Office of Personnel Management outlined in April how federal agencies should consider bringing employees back to offices, while noting it will vary based on the region. Although there have also been questions, confusion and concerns, individual agencies have been issuing their own reopening plans for their employees. 

“The guidance needs to be clearer, it needs to be more uniform, it needs to be consistent and it needs to be visible, transparent,” David Berteau, PSC president and CEO, told Government Executive during an interview last week. “I think it’s a huge hole in the government’s response. They don’t tend to think of contractors as part of an integrated workforce when they absolutely are.” 

He said he hasn’t seen a “good example” of a federal agency that has issued guidance specific for contractors and in most cases they only say the decisions are left up to the individual contractors when asked. 

Berteau acknowledged that there does need to be some flexibility depending on the companies’ locations and their specific needs, but it “could simply say, for instance, with respect to contractors, you know, ‘Don’t make them come back to the office unless you need.’” 

Robert Burton, partner

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Contractors Seek Clarity On DOD Cybersecurity Rule

Law360 (September 29, 2020, 10:28 PM EDT) — Defense contractors are grappling with a new rule requiring them to implement cybersecurity programs that leaves crucial questions unanswered, including the exact information companies will be required to safeguard and how the new obligations will be worked into contracts.

The interim rule, formally published by the U.S. Department of Defense on Tuesday, explains how contractors will be assessed for compliance with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework, the DOD’s plan that will eventually attach minimum cybersecurity requirements to all of its contract solicitations.

Improving cybersecurity standards across the DOD’s supply chain is intended to help better protect “controlled unclassified information” and…

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