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Amazon drivers can move forward with class-action lawsuit


Amazon drivers can move forward with class-action lawsuit

Amazon delivery drivers in Massachusetts scored a major victory in their class-action lawsuit against the e-commerce giant Tuesday. It allows them to proceed with their claim that they have been misclassified as independent contractors and are entitled to the same job protections as regular employees. The district court ruling states that the drivers aren’t bound by the arbitration agreement in their contract because they fall under the transportation workers’ exemption to the Federal Arbitration Act, which applies to workers engaged in interstate commerce. Even if the drivers don’t cross state lines, they are indispensable to Amazon’s distribution system, according to the decision, and a strike by these drivers would inevitably disrupt interstate commerce. The ruling also states that the Massachusetts state law prohibiting class-action waivers in arbitration agreements applies to the drivers. There are more than 8,000 Amazon Flex delivery drivers in Massachusetts, all of whom must supply their own vehicles and pay for the insurance, gas, and phones necessary to do their jobs. As independent contractors, they are not entitled to the protections that employees get, including getting paid minimum wage and overtime. “Amazon is misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors so that it can shift the expense of running a business to its drivers,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, the Boston attorney representing the drivers. “Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world owned by the richest man in the world, and I believe that they can afford to pay their workers correctly and follow the law.” The court ruling also ordered that case move to Seattle — home to Amazon headquarters — where Liss-Riordan is representing drivers in a similar national class action suit. Amazon, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is appealing the decision. — KATIE JOHNSTON


Facebook will allow users to turn off tracking

Soon, you could get fewer familiar ads following you around the Internet — or at least on Facebook. Facebook is launching a long-promised tool that lets you limit what the social network can gather about you on outside websites and apps. The tool will let you delete your past browsing history from Facebook and prevent it from keeping track of your future clicks, taps, and website visits going forward. Doing so means that Facebook won’t use information gleaned from apps and websites to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. It also won’t use such information to show you posts that Facebook thinks you might like based on your offsite activity, such as news articles shared by your friends. Formerly known as ‘‘clear history,’’ the tool will now go by the slightly clunkier moniker ‘‘off-Facebook activity.’’ Even if you turn off tracking, Facebook will still gather data on your off-Facebook activities. It will simply disconnect those activities from your Facebook profile. Facebook says businesses won’t know you clicked on their ad — but they’ll know that someone did. So Facebook can still tell advertisers how well their ads are performing.



Apple’s TV and movie service expected to debut in November

Apple plans to roll out its Apple TV+ movie and TV subscription service by November, part of a drive to reach $50 billion in service sales by 2020. The company will introduce a small selection of shows and then expand its catalog more frequently over several months, people familiar with the matter said. A free trial is likely as Apple builds up its library, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The iPhone maker is entering an increasingly crowded field, led by streaming pioneer Netflix and In the coming months, Walt Disney, AT&T, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal will debut new offerings — all targeted at the growing ranks of viewers who are canceling cable-TV subscriptions or watching on mobile devices. Apple is considering offering the first three episodes of some programs, followed by weekly installments, the people said. The company hasn’t announced pricing for Apple TV+, but is weighing $9.99 a month, the people said, which would match Apple Music and Apple News+. Netflix and Amazon Prime charge as little as $8.99, while Disney+ plans to seek $6.99 when its service debuts in November. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Big Apple sneakers and sweats? Nike in NYC marketing deal

Sneaker giant Nike will sell New York City-branded merchandise under a two-year licensing agreement. The deal reached last week will allow Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike to sell apparel with the logos of the NYPD or other iconic city institutions. A Nike spokeswoman said the deal is the company’s first agreement for a merchandise license with a city in North America. The agreement gives 5 percent of Nike’s revenue on the branded merchandise to NYC & Company, New York City’s tourism bureau. Nike has come under criticism for its labor practices in the past. But Jane Meyer, a spokeswoman for Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, said Nike has agreed to the ethical standards typical in the city’s licensing contracts. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Google’s self-driving car headed for Florida

Google autonomous vehicle spinoff Waymo says it will start testing on public roads in Florida to better experience heavy rain. The Mountain View, Calif., company says tests will begin this month in the Miami area and include highway driving to Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Myers. The Florida test vehicles will be driven by humans. They’ll collect data with laser and radar sensors. Heavy rain can affect image quality. Waymo says Miami is one of the wettest cities in the United States during summer the months of hurricane season. Waymo already is testing in multiple areas including the San Francisco and Phoenix areas as well as suburban Detroit and Seattle. The company has delayed a full-scale autonomous ride-hailing service in the Phoenix area due to safety concerns. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Facebook’s digital money idea faces European probe

European Union antitrust regulators are already probing Facebook Inc.’s two-month-old Libra digital currency project, according to a document seen by Bloomberg. The European Commission is “currently investigating potential anti-competitive behavior” related to the Libra Association amid concerns the proposed payment system would unfairly shut out rivals, the EU authority said in a questionnaire sent out earlier this month. Officials said they’re concerned about how Libra may create “possible competition restrictions” on the information that will be exchanged and the use of consumer data, according to the document, which is a standard part of an early-stage EU inquiry to gather information. The investigation into founder Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitions to take on traditional cash adds to another preliminary EU investigation into how Facebook may unfairly use its power to squeeze rival apps. The Brussels-based commission, Europe’s most feared regulator, has already targeted Google and Apple Inc. Facebook and the commission both declined to comment on the investigation. The EU questionnaire said regulators are also examining the possible integration of Libra-backed applications into Facebook services such as WhatsApp and Messenger. It said their investigation focuses on the governance structure and membership of the Libra Association. — BLOOMBERG NEWS