From the Uber driver employment fight to age discrimination accusations against IBM and more trouble for Facebook, here’s the latest in class action news.
IBM Faces Legal Action Over Alleged Age Discrimination
IBM has come under scrutiny after the company was accused by three plaintiffs of systematically firing tens of thousands of older workers in favor of hiring younger employees. The lawsuit, brought by a handful of laid-off workers described to be in their 50s and 60s, claims that the company’s alleged attempt to “make the face of IBM younger” violated federal age discrimination laws. If granted class action status, the lawsuit could potentially cover thousands of former employees who were let go over the past several years.
The company has defended its position, asserting that its employment decisions are based on an individual’s skill and not their age – but we’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out. ClassAction.org will have updates as they come in; in the meantime, The Boston Globe has more on the story.
PA Catholic Dioceses/Bishops Hit with Class Action over Alleged Sexual Abuse
The revelation of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church has unfortunately been a real topic of conversation for a long time – and it was only a matter of time before the lawsuits started to roll in. One of the most recent cases, filed on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse and their families, is being brought against six dioceses in Pennsylvania.
The lawsuit is asking the court to compel each diocese to name all suspected sexual predators. It’s also looking to enforce the church’s role as a mandatory reporter of this type of abuse, stating that parents who have their children enrolled in Catholic school need to ensure that they’re being kept safe.
A quick Google search will show that what reportedly happened in Pennsylvania is far from an isolated incident, and another case was filed against bishops in California just last week.
For more on the case filed in Pennsylvania, Penn Live has you covered.
Multi-Billion Dollar Settlement Won’t Get Visa, Mastercard Out of the Woods Just Yet
Visa and Mastercard appear to have taken the first step toward ending a long-running disagreement with U.S. retailers over credit card swipe fees by agreeing to the largest antitrust settlement to date. But the settlement (which reportedly hit upward of $6.24 billion) isn’t quite enough to put the feud to rest just yet, as a separate class of retailers is attempting to get Visa and Mastercard to change their business practices.
“The monetary settlement doesn’t solve the problem,” an attorney for the National Retail Federation Trade Group said. “Ending the practices that lead to these anti-competitive fees is the only way to give merchants and consumers full relief once and for all.”
Essentially, Visa and Mastercard were accused of colluding to simultaneously raise the fees they charge when someone swipes a credit card at a store, leaving businesses with no choice but to pay more in processing fees. Retailers in the U.S. currently pay $90 billion in swipe fees each year, so it isn’t a small amount of money we’re talking about here.
If you’re interested in catching up on this years-long saga, Bloomberg has a couple solid articles on the subject.
Another Facebook Data Snafu, Another Class Action
Fifty million Facebook users had their personal information exposed in another data breach at the end of September. Facebook’s security practices were already in question after the whole Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal – and now, the social media platform is facing yet another class action lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, names, birthdates, passwords, security question answers, phone numbers, email addresses and recovery email accounts could have been exposed. The complaint asserts that a flaw in Facebook’s code and “grossly inadequate” security measures contributed to the massive breach. If the case is allowed to proceed as a class action, it will look to represent anyone who was affected and therefore put at a greater risk of identity theft.
Head over to Forbes for the specifics.
Court Rules Uber Drivers Can’t Band Together to Fight Independent Contractor Status
Uber drivers hoping to gain status as bona fide employees (and the rights that come along with it) have been severely set back as their attempt at a class action lawsuit has been denied. In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals went against a lower court’s decision that granted class action status to the case. The court found that the arbitration clause included in drivers’ contracts bar the workers from joining together to take legal action against Uber, leaving them to either take on Uber as individuals or drop the matter entirely.
The Drive has a solid writeup of the case and others like it.
Rick Nelson Estate Sues Sony over Streaming Royalties
The estate of Rick Nelson (1950s teen idol, you know the one) has filed a proposed class action against Sony Music Entertainment over the record label’s alleged failure to pay the full amount of artists’ royalties when it comes to international streaming. Sony allegedly collects overseas revenue through its foreign affiliates and then charges itself intercompany fees before distributing the money – leaving less for the artists themselves.
If allowed to proceed as a class action, the lawsuit could potentially represent thousands of Sony artists whose contracts stipulate that they should be getting more from foreign streaming revenue.
Variety has the details.
LaCroix Sparkling Water Described in Class Action Lawsuit as Containing Chemical Used in Insecticide
It looks as though even seltzer is no longer safe from the wave of class actions attacking companies that claim certain products are “all natural.”
According to CBS News, LaCroix-maker National Beverage is the latest company to be named in a proposed class action that alleges its “all natural” and “100 percent natural” claims are fraudulent and misleading to consumers, as the carbonated drinks supposedly contain “a number of artificial ingredients.” One ingredient, CBS writes, is supposedly linalool, a known cockroach insecticide.
In response to the suit, National Beverage denied the allegations, claiming the natural flavors in LaCroix come from “natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors.”
Head over to CBS News for more.