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Labour law

2018

China's State Council Premier Li Keqiang, together with World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria, Financial Stability Board (FSB) Chairman Mark Carney, and International Labor Organization (ILO) Deputy Director-General Deborah Greenfield released a public statement calling for the promotion of an inclusive global development, at the third 1+6 Roundtable Meeting held in Beijing. They reached a common understanding that digital transformation is the new growth driver for the world economy. Among other issues, governments were called to advance and co-operate on artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of things, and cloud computing. The need to direct more efforts towards the impacts of digital transformation, such as employment and income distribution was stressed.

 

 

Pat Didomenco asks Is illegal bias lurking in your online job ad? when writing about bias in online employment ads, highlighting the recent American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against Facebook and 10 employers that post ads on Facebook. The complaint alleges that Facebook used its ad-targeting features to target men, while not showing online ads for police officers, construction workers, truck drivers, and sales staff to women. Didomenco also points out discriminatory practices in age discrimination, and how to identify bias.

                                                                       Facebook gender targeted ad

                                                                          Image source: Seattle Times

The World Bank announced the Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) new report: Digital Jobs for Youth: Young Women in the Digital Economy. The report provides 'operational recommendations for the design and implementation of gender-inclusive digital jobs interventions for youth'. It also analyses initiatives that aim to close the gender gap in the digital economy, and makes recommendations on how to empower women, and close the gender gap in the digital economy.

A recently released report by the US organisation Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) concluded that the economic benefits that may be brought by the widespread adoption of autonomous driving technology might surpass common concerns related to labour market destabilisation and job dislocation. Job dislocation and contribution to unemployment might not be as severe as commonly suspected, as new jobs and other economic benefits would compensate for any expected labour market disruption.​ The report recognises that some groups might be more seriously affected by job dislocation than others, and recommends policymakers to fully support autonomous vehicle deployment while, in parallel, lay the groundwork for the requalification of the workforce.

A federal appeals court in the USA issued a decision saying that a regulation passed in 2015 by the city of Seattle to allow Uber and Lyft drives to unionise was not lawful. The decision was issued in a lawsuit brought by the US Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which claimed that the regulation was in breach of the antitrust law: if drivers negotiate over their pay, which is based on ride fares, they would be able to fix prices, and thus violate antitrust laws. A federal judge in Seattle initially ruled against the ICC, stating that the state of Washington had authorised cities to regulate the ride-hailing industry. But the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the Washington state laws allow municipalities to regulate rates that companies charge to passengers, but not the fees that drives pay the companies they work for. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the Seattle Court to reconsider it. Supporters of the Seattle regulation argue that allowing drivers to unionise would improve their working conditions, while the industry claims that the appeals court's decision 'will maintain the flexibility of drivers to choose when, where and for how long they drive'

The California Supreme Court issued a ruling that could make it more difficult for companies –  including those in the sharing economy – to classify their workers as independent contractors. In its decision, issued in a case involving the courier and delivery company, Dynamex, the court noted that, 'Although in some circumstances classification as an independent contractor may be advantageous to workers as well as to businesses, the risk that workers who should be treated as employees may be improperly misclassified as independent contractors is significant in light of the potentially substantial economic incentives that a business may have in mischaracterizing some workers as independent contractors...'. In this context, the court outlines a series of requirements that companies should meet to be able to classify their workers as individual contractors instead of employees: '(A) that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact; (B) that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and (C) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.' Commentators argue that this ruling would make it more difficult for companies like Uber and Lyft to argue that their workers are individual contractors.

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