The Phone Sex Worker Who Took Down Uber, 25% Off Hawaii Redemptions, and More

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. It’s not just those running California who are anti-business, the DOL has an agenda to limit the independent contractor status. We are now a nation where a kid must jump hoops and spend a good amount of money to sell lemonade to the public.

  2. Let me get this straight, this woman exercised her rights under California law AND the state has agreed with her so far. How she came to learn about those rights seems irrelevant. Would it be more hypocritical if she learned about California law by passing the CA bar exam? I assume everyone here has some ivory tower east coast mentality about CA and assume rampant liberal political corruption. But that’s not the case AND CA is a very strong worker protection state. So whether it’s programmers at Electronic Arts getting overtime pay, non-compete agreements being illegal, class-action overtime settlements, or some cities passing $15 minimum wage, CA is very worker friendly. What I am really surprised by is that this it took this long for someone to think of this – Independent Contractor status issues are extremely common.

  3. Care to explain how she is a hypocrite, Gary? She had LEGAL independent contractors. If her business got hit with a similar ruling as Uber received, then I could understand how she is a hypocrite. As it stands, she is just someone who realized that Uber was taking advantage of the benefits of independent contractors while trying to sidestep many of the downsides, which hurts the workers.

  4. Gary,

    Even if she is a hypocrite, so what? “Loopholes” shouldn’t just be for people rich enough to have lawyers and CPAs who can take advantage of them. If a common man can figure out how to get a case to trial on its own merits without a lawyer (yeah I know the article says a friend will help with the trial aspects) then more power to them.

  5. @Dan – Independent contractor vs employee is hardly a loophole, under standard IRS rules this is pretty clear black letter stuff. But… California. As I observe in a separate post there are competing regulatory regimes right now fighting over what they choose to extract. California and New York are two of the bigger ones and they have the potential to drive the industry one way or another although it’s by no means a foregone conclusion that either will be the winning regulator.

    The lawsuit’s story, in this case, appears pretty contrived. A woman who has employed independent contractors, learned that area of law closely for her own benefit, then signs on as an uber driver for two months to leverage that area of knowledge to extract something from the company. The more that comes out on this the more it looks like dirty pool.

  6. @gary “But… California” – I guess you’re in Texas now, so with issues like this your suggestion would be to secede? Not to get nit-picky but the states of the United States of America do in fact have the right to decide this stuff for themselves. Ever wonder why it was called “California emissions” on a car? Oh right, because California had different rules, not “but…California” but because it’s completely and totally legal. Normally I’d say “don’t hate the player hate the game” but the game in this case “the game” is the constitution of the United States. I’m guessing we don’t need to change it just so Uber can use the same app in every state and every country, so I’ll just hate the player (while using their app everywhere).

  7. @bode Yes, federalism within bounds of constitutional limits such as a prohibition on regulating commerce with other states and the limits of the 14th amendment.

  8. I have a masters in taxation. One of the first things I was told by my professor in graduate school is not to cite any cases from the Ninth Circuit. I know exactly what you mean by “…but, California”

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