Contractual agreements often last for years. During that time, circumstances often change and so do the needs and priorities of the participants. Some underlying contracts require than any amendments or changes are required to be made in writing. Yet people frequently make handshake agreements to change important contractual terms. If the agreement was important enough to put in writing in the first place (and most agreements are), then why do people think changes to the agreement can be made on a handshake... or based on a text message?
Every day people sign contracts they don't read: Cable agreements; cell phone agreements; new product purchasing agreements. Even attorneys sign contracts they don't read -- although hopefully they read contracts before their clients sign them. There are a few reasons for this. First, they're long and complicated. Even if we read them they would be hard to understand. And second, we generally assume that they won't be enforced against us or that we don't need them anyway. But this isn't necessarily true. Often times that contract that we had to sign to watch Game of Thrones, will control the terms of a dispute we have when our cable goes out, we miss the finale, and a radio announcer ruins the surprise ending for us.
Unlike independent contractors, nonexempt employee drivers are entitled to benefits such as overtime and rest breaks. Despite the recent ruling by the labor commissioner, Uber drivers should be classified as independent contractors. It is important to understand that this single ruling may be persuasive to other courts, but is not binding. Before Uber drivers rush to the courthouse to collect for unpaid overtime and other benefits, it may be wise to wait to see how the superior court rules.
So often I receive calls from clients who believe they were wrongfully terminated and then spend the next 10 minutes (or more) explaining to me how awful their hours were, how awful their employer was, how mean their coworkers were, and how much misery they have spent the last X amount of time enduring. If I am feeling bold, I respond with "congratulations! You never have to deal with that job again!" The point is, that sometimes it's okay to get fired. Sometimes it's a blessing to be welcomed. So, if you've been fired, set aside your ego for a moment and focus on the benefits of losing your job -- especially one that made you miserable.
As of January 1, 2015, new paid sick leave law became in effect in California. However, the right to accrue and take sick leave under this law does not begin until July 1, 2015.