MORE FROM THE “SILLY” FILE. Hairstyles are now a protected category in California! On July 3, 2019,
California’s Governor signed SB 188 which prohibits any discrimination based on a person’s hairstyle. Yes, you read that right, their hairstyle.
Pursuant to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, it is unlawful to engage in discriminatory employment practices based on certain protected categories, like race. This bill will amend the Government Code and Education Code to expand the definition of race. “Race” is inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and styles. It further defines “Protective hairstyles” to include, “Such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.”
How does this impact employers? Well, the legislature has concluded that workplace dress codes and grooming policies that prohibit “natural hair, including afros, braids, twists and locks” have a disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees more than any other group. This could lead to increased risk for the employer.
For more information on the new Senate bill, NTA Members can request a copy to be emailed to them. For information on how to ensure your policies, such as dress code or grooming policies, are compliant with this new law, which becomes effective January 1, 2020, please contact me or one of NTA’s endorsed lawyers.
BILLS OF LADING VS. CONTRACTS. Carriers and shippers often enter into transportation contracts covering the transportation of the shipper’s freight (the “Contract”). But each individual shipment is also covered by a Bill of Lading (the “B/L”). The B/L operates at law as both a receipt for the goods and the basic transportation contract between the shipper and consignor.
What happens when the terms of the B/L conflict with the terms of the Contract? For example, suppose the carrier is transporting freight worth $1,000,000. The contract requires the carrier to pay full value for freight damage, but the B/L has a limitation provision limiting the carrier’s liability for freight damage to $10,000. These types of issues arise all the time.
Looking at the facts and circumstances of many cases and closely reviewing the Contract and B/L provisions, it appears that the terms of the B/L often prevail over the Contract for several reasons. First, the B/L is usually prepared by the shipper and the courts tend to enforce the B/L provisions against the shipper for that reason. Second, the B/L usually comes after the Contract and the courts have held that the B/L represents an amendment of the prior Contract. Third, the courts have found the B/L to be a more specific agreement related to an individual shipment. Thus, the courts tend to enforce the B/L terms in cases involving the shipment covered by the B/L.
Carriers and shippers that work together should have transportation contracts but should make sure that their B/Ls do not conflict with those contracts. NTA has endorsed attorneys who prepare such contracts regularly and litigate disputes where there are conflicts between these agreements. Should you need any assistance or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
ARBITRATION AGREEMENT LIMITS. On January 15, 2019, the United States Supreme Court ruled in New Prime, Inc. vs. Oliveira that an interstate trucking company cannot force independent contractor drivers to arbitration based on arbitration clauses in their independent contractor agreements. The case involved drivers who entered into agreements which required them to settle disputes with New Prime through arbitration. A driver filed a class action lawsuit against New Prime alleging it failed to pay minimum wages to its independent contractor drivers and sought to dispute the case in court, not arbitration.
The ruling acknowledged that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) generally requires courts to enforce private arbitration agreements, but an exemption in the FAA allows disputes over “contracts for employment” involving transportation workers to be resolved in court rather than arbitration. The Court held that the FAA term “contract for employment” included agreements with independent contractors as well as employee drivers.
Notably, the New Prime ruling is limited in scope. Although the ruling determined that the FAA exemption for transportation workers applies to both employees and independents, it only addresses federal law and interstate operations. The enforceability of arbitration clauses for intrastate operations continues to vary from state to state based on state law. Contact the endorsed and experienced attorneys from NTA to learn how the New Prime ruling may impact your motor carrier business and independent contractor agreements.
CASTING CALL FOR TRUCKERS. Do you have years of experience and many miles driving an 18-wheeler? Do you want to win cash for being the best truck driver? From the creators of Deadliest Catch, Bobcat Partners are producing a competition series to find the most skilled truckers to compete in a series of events to show off their trucker skills. This is a fantastic project for a major cable network where you’ll be put through a series of obstacle courses and tasks to see what kind of moves you have behind the wheel of a big rig. If picked, you’ll be supplied hotel and airfare to the location and be eligible to win cash for each round you win. If interested, please email email@example.com. Good luck!
NOTE: The material in this article, provided by the people at NorthAmerican Transportation Association (NTA), is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post/print. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise any similar outcomes. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact me, Wayne Schooling, directly at (800) 805-0040.