Tag Archives: workers compensation

Why Lincoln and Omaha probably won’t be following NYC in a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers

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Lyft and Uber drivers in Lincoln don’t have the same legal protections as drivers in New York City

New York City recently implemented a $17 per hour minimum wage for drivers for riding hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. I wouldn’t expect similar measures exapnding wage and hour and/or workers’ compensation to gig economy workers in Omaha or Lincoln for two main reasons.

Local governments in Nebraska have their powers limited by the state

The first hurdle to a city minimum wage or city workers’ comepnsation laws in Lincoln or Omaha is the state constitution. Nebraska courts have held that only the state can regulate the employee-employer relationship unless the legislature authorizes a city or county to do so. The state has authorized cities and counties to draft civil rights ordinances.  Omaha and Lincoln have human rights commissions similar to the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.

But the Legislature has not authorized local governments to implement their own minimum wage or workers’ compensation laws. No such legislation was introduced to that effect this year in Nebraska. In neighboring Missouri, the Missouri legislature reversed an attempt by the City of St. Louis to increase the minimum wage in that city above the state minimum wage. In short, I believe it would be unlikely that Nebraska would authorize local governments to implement their own workers’ compensation and wage laws in the near future.

Even if cities in Nebraska could enact wage and hour and workers’ compensation ordinances, it seems unlikely that cities would do so to cover gig economy workers.

There doesn’t appear to much political will among cities in Nebraska – even in Democratic-controlled Lincoln – to expand employee protections to ride hailing drivers. In fact, the Lincoln City council voted in 2017 to exempt Uber and Lyft drivers from the same licensing requirements as taxi drivers.

In fairness, Lincoln had a long history of being poorly served by a taxi cab monopoly. Complaints about regulatory fairness from former monopolists fell on deaf ears. But Lincoln’s taxi monopoly was broken in 2012 before the rise of ride hailing apps. Lincoln and Omaha lack an organized voice for drivers like they have in New York City. Without such a voice, worker classification issues among urban professional drivers will likely continue to be unheard at a state and local level in Nebraska.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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Millennials suffer most work injuries in Nebraska

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Nearly 2/3 of reported work injuries in Nebraska are workers under 40

Workers under the age of 40 comprise 65.7 percent of reported work injuries in the state of Nebraska according to recently released statistics by the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court.

Put another way, Millennials are the generation that suffer the most work injuries in this state. Viewed one way, the fact that so many young people get hurt on the job belies the assumption that young people are lazy or soft. Much like the misconception that all blue collar workers are white, there is an assumption that young people don’t do blue collar work.

But viewed another way, negative stereotypes about millennials  jibe with perception held by many that injured workers are just trying to get out of work or “milk the system”. In that mindset, millennial employees would be more likely to claim workers compensation because workers’ compensation claims are almost per se fraudulent.

In Nebraska and most states injured employees have some protection against discrimination if they file a workers’ compensation claim. (Although it is a close issue as to whether an injured worker is a member of a protected class or engaging in a protected activity or both) But workers under the age of 40 in Nebraska and in most other states have no protection against discrimination based on age.

The fact that stereotyping young people is legally permissible means that respectable business types have no problem with sharing humor like the “Millennial Job Interview” video that made the rounds on the internet. I doubt that any video that  sterotyped a protected class like this video stereotyped millenials would have openly shared without rebuke.

I suspect allowing discrimination against young people negatively impacts terms and conditions of employment for young people. Lawmakers in Canada, where age discrimination laws generally kick in at age 18, seem to think it does. I also wonder whether negative stereotypes about millennials would lead employers to discount safety complaints from younger workers or lead them to believe that younger workers exaggerate the extent of their injuries.

Stereotypes about lazy young people aren’t new to millennials. Future generations including, Generation Z , will likely be subject to negative stereotyping. Human nature may not change, but laws controlling discrimination may force employees to change their behavior. Laws outlawing age discrimination against young people may also promote workplace safety as young people suffer the bulk of work injuries.

At least one millennial in Nebraska will have an opportunity to shape workplace law in Nebraska. Lincoln Senator Matt Hansen was elected to chair the Business and Labor Committee in the Nebraska legislature. Hansen has a good record on workers issues and I believe he will work hard to preserve and maybe even expand employee rights in Nebraska in this important position.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Nebraska, Workers Compensation and tagged , , , .