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Uber drivers might not be considered employees by Uber, but rather independent contractors. Like many disrupter companies, Uber has very little interest in following the workers’ compensation laws in the States that they operate so that they can save money. This is important to Uber since they lose hundreds of millions of dollars each year as they increase the reach of their business across the globe. This isn’t surprising considering that Uber has sought to upend many of the state and local regulations regarding taxi and chauffer licensing. They certainly don’t want to pay health care insurance for their drivers either. When people think of Uber, they usually don’t think about layers of companies that make a company like it. Uber prefers to attempt to dictate what the law should be for their benefit by hiding beyond their wholly-owned subsidiary Raiser, LLC. Uber is protected through direct litigation because of Raiser LLC. By doing so, Uber claims that when one of their drivers gets hurt while on ridesharing duties are not employees. While this would have most people scratching their heads, in in places like Chicago, Illinois, the laws seem much clearer in establishing that Uber drivers are indeed employees while transporting or driving to transport passengers. What is clear is that Raiser is not associated with Lyft and Lyft is not associated with Uber.

In all likelihood, most people who aren’t working for Uber don’t realize it, but Raiser, LLC pays the Uber drivers for their rideshare fees. Basically, Uber collects the money and Raiser pays the drivers. By doing this, Uber claims that it doesn’t directly employ the drivers. At the end of the day, Raiser basically cuts the driver their checks by sending funds to a driver’s bank account. Then, once per year, Raiser sends the drivers a 1099 tax form for work as an independent contractor. When a driver has an issue with Uber, the driver has to take it up with Raiser, which acts as a protective shield or intermediary for Uber where the drivers will be coldly directed to “Terms and Conditions” to deal with their concerns. In issues involving workers’ compensation, the major concern for an arbitrator or commissioner is evaluating direction and control. If someone exercises a certain amount of control over the way in which another person does the job duties, then an employee-employer relationship is established. Most employers like to avoid employment relationships for liability and tax reasons, but their avoidance sometimes backfires. Ironically, in a personal injury situation, Uber seems to clearly be in an agency relationship with the driver while the driver is picking-up and dropping-off passengers. It certainly seems to be hypocritical to have drivers acting as agents of Uber, but then when those agents are hurt during agency, Uber will not provide the basics of a claim like providing disability checks or paying for medical bills.

Although drivers must use Uber’s app for picking-up and dropping-off passengers, Uber claims that they simply don’t employ the drivers when they are hurt during that software-driven, nearly automated process. Clearly, without the app, Uber drivers wouldn’t be able to do their job. Further, the app provides a medium of communication for the Uber drivers and potential customers as well as a portal between the drivers and Uber. To say that Uber doesn’t control its drivers certainly seems to be contrary to the daily functions of a driver using Uber’s app. While Raiser LLC is liable for any rideshare accident that happens at Uber, when someone makes a claim against Uber, the claim would also be against Raiser, LLC. Legally, Uber drivers are borrowed employees of Raiser LLC or the subsidiary Uber uses in the Chicago market. As far as Uber is concerned, drivers don’t work for them even though they use their app continually and display the brand name clearly.

Sleep Tips for Commercial Drivers

If you are a commercial driver or you know one, it’s important to educate yourself about drowsy driving, what helps mitigate it, and what makes it worse.

1. Get Enough Sleep Before You Drive

osha-heat-ad-large-en-page-001-267x300Most heat-related health problems can be prevented, or the risk of developing them can be reduced. For indoor environments, refer to the information below.

Engineering Controls

The best way to prevent heat-related illness is to make the work environment cooler. A variety of engineering controls can reduce workers’ exposure to heat:

If you or a loved one pays Medicare premiums by automatic deductions from a Social Security check, some of your insurance coverage could be cancelled.

A “processing error” led to premiums for Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) and prescription drug plans (Part D) to go unpaid nationwide for 250,000 retirees – all the way back to January – according to…..

Click here to read the rest of the article at NJ.com.

The following op-ed was by ITLA President Mark D. Prince was published in the Peoria Journal Star on January 5, 2019.

Spotlight: Workers’ comp reform needed to reduce premium rates

In the span of less than a decade, the price paid by Illinois employers for workers’ compensation insurance dropped from third highest in the nation, as compared to other states, down to 22nd on the list.

Tesla’s long-simmering relationship with the United Auto Workers is heating up again.

As part of an ongoing effort to organize the electric automaker’s Fremont, California, assembly factory, the union has filed a string of unfair labor-practice charges and safety complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. These include allegations that…… (click here to read the full article via CNBC)

If you get a call that looks like it’s from the Social Security Administration (SSA), think twice. Scammers are spoofing SSA’s 1-800 customer service number to try to get your personal information. Spoofing means…. (click here for the full article from the FTC website)

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is the only federal law aimed at protecting expecting mothers at work. It is four paragraphs long and 40 years old. It says that a company has to accommodate pregnant workers’ requests only if ….(click here to read the full article via the New York Times)

On January 1, 2015, the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Law, an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act, went into effect, providing greater protection for pregnant employees. Now all employers in the State of Illinois are required to make reasonable accommodations for “pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth” upon request by the affected employee. The new amendment expands the protections of prior disability discrimination laws in Illinois, which did not cover accommodations for most pregnant employees who were otherwise healthy. Under the new law, virtually every pregnant employee is entitled to a pregnancy-related accommodation. The Illinois Pregnancy Discrimination Law and Illinois Human Rights Act are State laws which provide protections to pregnant employees in Illinois in addition to those protections under the Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act under Title VII.

In order to assert your rights under the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Law, you must make a request for a reasonable accommodation. Upon that request, your employer may require you to provide documentation from your health care provider regarding the need for the requested accommodation. However, your employer may only require your doctor to provide the medical justification for the requested accommodation, a description of the types of accommodations which are medically advisable, the date when the accommodations became medically advisable, and the probable duration of the need for the accommodation. Both the employee and the employer are required to engage in timely, good faith, and meaningful exchange to determine effective and reasonable accommodations.

Once you have requested a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition and provided the relevant documentation from your health care provider, it is unlawful for your employer to deny your accommodation request unless it can show that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the ordinary operation of the business. An “undue hardship” on the employer means an accommodation that would be prohibitively expensive or disruptive to the employer’s business when considering the nature and cost of the accommodation; the overall financial resources and size of the employer; the number of employees and location of the employer’s facilities; and the nature of the employer’s operations.