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Robocabs could make climate change worse, say researchers at Harvard, MIT

August 24, 2021

By HLS News Staff
Harvard Law Today

A new study shows that electric, autonomous cabs could increase greenhouse gas emissions — not reduce them

 

A new study led by Dr. Ashley Nunes, a fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, concluded that, counterintuitively, fleets of electric, autonomous taxis could dramatically increase energy consumption and emissions that contribute to climate change — not reduce them.

“While electric vehicles themselves have lower emissions than traditional gasoline-powered...

Read more about Robocabs could make climate change worse, say researchers at Harvard, MIT
Harvard Law Today logo

Robocabs could make climate change worse, say researchers at Harvard, MIT

August 24, 2021

By HLS News Staff
Harvard Law Today

A new study shows that electric, autonomous cabs could increase greenhouse gas emissions — not reduce them

 

A new study led by Dr. Ashley Nunes, a fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, concluded that, counterintuitively, fleets of electric, autonomous taxis could dramatically increase energy consumption and emissions that contribute to climate change — not reduce them.

“While electric vehicles themselves have lower emissions than traditional gasoline-powered...

Read more about Robocabs could make climate change worse, say researchers at Harvard, MIT
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INTERVIEW: VOICE ESEA TEAM TALKS COLLECTING UK HATE CRIME DATA AND COMBATING RACISM

August 13, 2021

YINSEY WANG
WeAreResonate.com

Abbey Wong, Sandii Ng and Sisi Hu are members of Voice ESEA, a non-profit organisation set up this year. Voice ESEA is on a mission to eliminate racial discrimination against East and South East Asians (ESEA) by educating about, and amplifying voices of ESEA within the community.

Abbey Wong is the Data Team Lead and Sandii Ng is a Project Manager of Voice ESEA, and are founding members. Sisi Hu has helped...

Read more about INTERVIEW: VOICE ESEA TEAM TALKS COLLECTING UK HATE CRIME DATA AND COMBATING RACISM
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How Joe Biden's order on noncompetes could make it easier to quit your job

July 27, 2021

BY IRINA IVANOVA
CBS News

The president's July 9 executive order takes aim at an increasingly common and oft-criticized feature of the labor market: noncompete agreements. Under these restrictive agreements, which cover an estimated one-fifth to one-half of private-sector workers, employees give up future work in their industry as a condition of keeping their current job. 

Terri Gerstein, director of the state and local enforcement program at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, noted there were other legal ways, including...

Read more about How Joe Biden's order on noncompetes could make it easier to quit your job
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Kim Kardashian is being sued for employment practices that are sadly common

May 26, 2021

Terri Gerstein
NBC News THINK 

In the latest celebrity labor scandal, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West was sued in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday by seven workers accusing her of wage theft, retaliation and more. They literally worked on the grounds of her home. Kardashian West’s response to these allegations? “These workers were hired and paid through a third-party vendor,” her spokesperson said. “Kim is not party to the agreement made between the vendor and their workers, therefore she is not responsible for how the vendor manages their business...

Read more about Kim Kardashian is being sued for employment practices that are sadly common
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How to End Wage Theft

May 10, 2021

Chris Bangert-Drowns
WPFW Monday Morning Quarterback Radio Show

Alexia Fernandez Campbell, Senior Reporter at the Center for Public Integrity, and Terri Gerstein, Senior Fellow at the Economic Policy Institute and Director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, talk with reporter Chris Bangert-Drowns about wage theft during the pandemic, potential enforcement failures by the Department of Labor, and how to best end the practice.

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Wall Street’s Grip on Secret Harassment Hearings Starts to Crack

May 12, 2021

Max Reyes
Bloomberg

But their path to ending forced arbitration on Wall Street is seen as long and arduous. Much of the finance industry, including Goldman, remains committed to settling disputes behind closed doors, and change is unlikely to pass easily through a divided Congress.

“It still helps to build momentum and build a shared understanding that this practice of forced arbitration is not right,” Terri Gerstein, director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at Harvard Law School, said in an interview. “It’s not fair, and it’s not good...

Read more about Wall Street’s Grip on Secret Harassment Hearings Starts to Crack
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Big Law Builds Up State AG Expertise Amid Enforcement Boost

May 12, 2021

Ellen M. Gilmer
Bloomberg Law

Top law firms are building out practice groups focused on state attorneys general, whose aggressive moves on everything from workers’ rights to Big Tech have clients looking for lawyers with a deep understanding of the process.

Harvard Law School’s State and Local Enforcement Project director Terri Gerstein, former head of the Labor Bureau in the New York attorney general’s office, cautioned private practice lawyers against relying too heavily on relationships formed during their past work in state offices.

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When corporations deceive and cheat workers, consumer laws should be used to protect workers

May 5, 2021

Working Ecoonomics Blog
Economics Policy Institute

Terri Gerstein, Lorelei Salas, and David Seligman

Some public enforcement agencies (and even private lawyers) have recently attacked corporate misconduct of this sort by enforcing laws traditionally used to protect consumers in order to address unfair and deceptive labor market practices that target working people, often immigrants and people of color. More enforcement agencies and lawyers should follow their lead. Public enforcement agencies that focus on enforcing consumer...

Read more about When corporations deceive and cheat workers, consumer laws should be used to protect workers
2021 May 18

Prosecutions of wage theft and other employer crimes

3:30pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

Zoom

Hosted by Economic Policy Institute on Zoom

Join us for a panel discussion on how criminal prosecutions protect workers’ rights and ensure a level playing field for law-abiding employers. Hear from elected district attorneys about why they support this work and from line prosecutors about cases they have brought. Speakers will share ways prosecutors and worker organizations can build relationships and work together to improve workplace enforcement.... Read more about Prosecutions of wage theft and other employer crimes

Terri Gerstein. 5/17/2021. How district attorneys and state attorneys general are fighting workplace abuses. epi.org. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Summary

Historically wage theft and other crimes against workers have not been prosecuted. Rather, civil enforcement by labor departments, along with private class-action lawsuits, have more commonly been the methods used to enforce crucial workplace protections like the right to be paid wages owed. However, responding to widespread, entrenched, and often egregious violations of workplace laws, an increasing number of district attorneys (DAs) and state attorneys general (AGs) have been bringing criminal prosecutions against law-breaking employers. This development is particularly important in light of limits in worker protection laws, underfunding of labor enforcement agencies that enforce those laws, and employers’ increasing use of forced arbitration clauses—which deprive workers of their right to take their employer to court, all of which have narrowed the options for workers whose rights have been violated.

  • State and local prosecutors have been bringing charges in a range of cases:
    • wage theft
    • misclassification (of workers as independent contractors) and payroll fraud
    • failure to pay unemployment insurance taxes
    • workers’ compensation insurance fraud
    • labor trafficking
    • egregious workplace safety and health violation
    • workplace sexual assault
    • witness tampering and retaliation
  • Criminal prosecution of violations of workers’ rights is appropriate and helps strengthen worker protection laws by establishing meaningful consequences for lawbreaking employers. Egregious violations of workers’ rights harm workers and communities, make it difficult for honest employers to compete, and deprive public coffers of money needed for critical safety net programs. Prosecutors engaged in workers’ rights issues should continue to build on this work, and more offices should join the effort.
  • State legislatures should strengthen statutes protecting workers, and ideally create funding mechanisms for pursuing criminal cases against lawbreakers.
  • Worker organizations and advocates should build relationships with DAs and the AG in their states to draw these untapped resources into the effort to protect workers’ rights.
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Prop 22 passes in California, exempting Uber and Lyft from classifying drivers as employees

November 4, 2020

Sara Ashley O'Brien 
CNN Business

In a major win for gig economy companies, CNN projects California voters have passed a costly and controversial ballot measure to exempt firms like Uber and Lyft from having to classify their gig workers in the state as employees rather than as independent contractors.

Terri Gerstein of the Harvard Labor and Worklife Program and Economic Policy Institute said in an email to CNN Business that the result will "leave thousands of California workers in a precarious and perilous position, without basic rights...

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Uber won its prized contractor status for drivers. Now what?

November 5, 2020

Joel Rosenblatt, Robert Wilkens-Iafolla and Erin Mulvane
Bloomberg

Uber and Lyft on Tuesday fended off labor protections that were decades in the making, allowing the companies to keep compensating their drivers as independent contractors. While Proposition 22 requires these app-based transportation services to offer some modest new perks for drivers, it keeps them from having to provide benefits that full-time employees get. 

“Prop 22 creates these rights, but as slender and grossly insufficient as they may be, there’s real questions whether workers can access them,” said Terri Gerstein, director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at Harvard University’s Labor and Worklife Program.... Read more about Uber won its prized contractor status for drivers. Now what?

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Inside Scalia’s Pro-Industry Revamp of Labor Agency Enforcement

November 2, 2020

Ben Penn
Bloomberg News

Scalia’s primary objective as U.S. Labor Secretary has been to solidify an enforcement philosophy at DOL that’s predictable for employers. Businesses had railed against the Obama administration for what they viewed as its overly punitive, “gotcha"-style tactics. Their frustration mounted when President Donald Trump‘s first labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, was slow to rebalance the enforcement landscape.

Opponents say Scalia has failed to leverage the department’s enforcement functions to defend workers at a time when their lives and...

Read more about Inside Scalia’s Pro-Industry Revamp of Labor Agency Enforcement
2020 Oct 26

State AGs Protecting Workers' Rights Roundtable

1:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: 

online via Zoom

On Monday, October 26 at 1 pm EST we hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on how state attorneys general have been taking action to protect workers. We were joined by:

D.C.  Attorney General  Karl Racine Illinois  Attorney General  Kwame Raoul Minnesota Attorney General  Keith Ellison Pennsylvania Attorney General  Josh Shapiro Terri Gerstein,  Harvard LWP

D.C. Attorney General
Karl Racine

Illinois
Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

Minnesota
Attorney General
Keith Ellison

Pennsylvania
Attorney General
Josh Shapiro

Moderator:
Terri Gerstein,
Harvard LWP

In recent years, there has been a surge of activity by a number of state attorneys general in protecting workers’ rights. As detailed in a recent report issued by the Economic Policy Institute and the Harvard Labor and Worklife Program, state AGs have:

  • Brought civil lawsuits and criminally prosecuted employers for wage theft;
  • Combatted no-poach and non-compete agreements, which suppress wages/job mobility;
  • Fought misclassification of workers as independent contractors instead of employees;
  • Opposed and challenged anti-worker rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor; and
  • Taken action on behalf of workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Since 2015, six AG offices, including those of our speakers, have established units within their offices dedicated to protecting workers.

View video of roundtable discussion.... Read more about State AGs Protecting Workers' Rights Roundtable

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