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Bay Area: Join us 7/11 to learn what the law has to say about the gig economy

Enlarge / Headquarters of car-sharing technology company Uber in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood of San Francisco, California, October 13, 2017.Smith Collection/Gado/Getty ImagesIn early May 2018, a California Supreme Court ruled that it is now harder for employers to formally classify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

The court’s opinion in Dynamex v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County could have a profound impact on many tech companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and others that provide on-demand services. Dynamex is a courier and delivery company based in Kent, Washington.

As Ars has reported, the overwhelming majority of gig economy companies’ workers are not employees, and so they do not get any health, retirement, unemployment, or other benefits that typically come with full-time employment. Uber, for example, uses the euphemism “driver partners” when referring to its non-employee drivers, who constitute the backbone of the company’s service. Weeks later after the Dynamex decision, Dennis Herrera, the San Francisco City Attorney, announced that he would seek “proof that Uber and Lyft have lawfully classified drivers as independent contractors or provide their drivers with minimum wage, sick leave, health care contributions, and paid parental leave.”

The ruling in Dynamex means that numerous other Bay Area “gig economy” firms will likely under pressure like never before. So to help us understand what this all means, we’ve invited Veena Dubal, a labor law professor at UC Hastings, to the next edition of Ars Live. Dubal joined UC Hastings College of the Law in 2015 after a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University.

Prior to that, Dubal received her JD and PhD from UC Berkeley, where she used historical and ethnographic methodologies to study workers and worker collectivities in the San Francisco taxi industry. The subject of her doctoral research arose from her experiences as a public interest attorney and Berkeley Law Foundation fellow at the Asian Law Caucus, where she founded a taxi worker project and represented Muslim Americans in civil rights cases. Ars Live takes place on the second Wednesday of every month at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland (3629 MLK Way; they have the best tater tots you’ve ever eaten–so crispy!).

Doors open at 7pm, and the live filming is from 7:30pm to 8:20-ish (be sure to get there early if you want a seat). Stick around afterward for informal discussion, beer, and snacks. Can’t make it out to Oakland?

Never fear! Episodes will be posted to Ars Technica the week after the live events. The event is free but space is limited, so RSVP using Eventbrite.

You can also keep up with the latest Ars Live doings on Facebook. See you soon, Bay Area Arsians!

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