Protocol | Workplace
Your guide to the new world of work, every Wednesday.
Photo: Alvarez/Getty Images

Prop. 22 is unconstitutional, judge says. Now what?

An empty office

A group of gig workers in California notched a big win on Friday when an Alameda Superior Court judge ruled Proposition 22 as unconstitutional. But, as we reported, it's not that simple.

But first, here's a quick TL;DR on Prop. 22. The California ballot measure, which gig-economy companies spent $224 million to pass, went into effect in January of this year. The key purpose of the measure is to be able to legally classify gig workers as independent contractors. Prop. 22 also provides app-based workers with a variety of benefits, such as health care stipends to eligible workers, wage minimums, accidental death insurance and more.

Now that you're caught up, let's get back to the ruling. The judge deemed Prop. 22 as unconstitutional, saying the legislation "appears only to protect the economic interests of the network companies in having a divided, un-unionized workforce, which is not a stated goal of the legislation."

Uber, Lyft and the coalition that represents them and other app-based companies, however, have all said they plan to appeal the ruling.

Scott Kronland, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said on a press call that "it will be at least several months before there is a decision on appeals."

But once this court case is all said and done, the battle over the classification of gig workers will persist. In Massachusetts, for example, a collective representing Uber, Lyft and other companies has proposed a ballot measure similar to Prop. 22. Meanwhile, a new driver's co-op in New York thinks maybe they can solve this problem by letting drivers themselves own the ridehailing service.

No matter what happens, we'll be here covering the latest developments. Anyway, thanks for letting us slide into your inbox.

Yours truly,

Megan Rose Dickey (email | twitter)

Senior Reporter, Protocol

(Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here to get Workplace every Wednesday.)

The Workforce

OnlyFans, but for porn

Only Fans reversed course Wednesday morning and announced it would be "suspending" its ban on porn, originally announced late last week. Sex workers were abandoning OnlyFans in droves after the announcement — and now, they're telling me they will continue to do so, having totally lost their trust in the company.

I talked with Jasmine, one of the more prominent sex workers who has left the platform, and she told me that the company has never been good at protecting or standing up for its creators. And now that OnlyFans has burned these creators, sex workers — whether or not they offer porn specifically — are looking for a more supportive place to go.

While Jasmine is skeptical anyone can provide what female sex workers really need, JustFor.fans is looking to be the next-best thing. The company's founder told me that thousands of people have started moving over content from OnlyFans in the last few days, and that he's confident the company should be able to continue to grow without the payment-processor problems OnlyFans used as its original excuse for the ban.

— Anna Kramer (email | twitter)

At The Office

Tips & Tools: So you want to host a VR meeting?

The launch of Facebook's Horizon Workrooms has some wondering if their next team meeting should be in VR. But experts say there's still a lot for corporate decision makers to consider before pushing their teams into an avatar-filled meeting room. Here are the pros and cons to consider before donning your VR headset and hopping into the virtual boardroom:

Pros

  • Enhances the level of connection felt among attendees in meetings and could possibly bridge the gap between workers who continue to work from home and those who return to physical offices.
  • You're not tied to using Horizon Workrooms if you want to host a VR meeting. There are a variety of options, each with their own advantages, and some are even free. For example, Spatial uses more lifelike avatars based on an image of participants in order to feel more real. And Mozilla's Hubs is the closest thing to the metaverse right now and it's free of charge. The other systems on the market can also easily be used on a laptop or a tablet.

Cons

  • The ergonomics of wearing a headset are far from ideal at this point. Not all employees are predicted to be willing to wear a VR headset for several hours on a busy meeting day. And some people have reported having a nauseating experience wearing the headsets, an issue that has not been addressed by companies at this point.
  • There are also possible liability issues that could occur in the event of someone falling or getting hurt while wearing a VR headset in a meeting. Avi Bar-Zeev, the CTO of RealityPrime, told Protocol he would encourage employers purchasing VR equipment for teams to take a careful look at the liabilities they are incurring, as much of the responsibility falls on the company if anything goes wrong.

—Amber Burton (email | twitter)

A MESSAGE FROM ZOOM

Zoom is for you. From meetings, chat, phone, and webinars to conference rooms and events, Zoom powers all your communication needs. Zoom for Government, our separate, U.S.-based platform, offers the same Zoom experience but with the specialized security controls and certifications required by the U.S. government.

Learn more

By The Numbers

Return to normal?

  • According to a new poll by Morning Consult, more than 3 in 4 vaccinated adults say they would get a COVID-19 booster if it's recommended.
  • Out of the 3,000 or so California-based Hewlett Packard Enterprise employees who have disclosed their vaccination status to HPE, 94% said they were vaccinated.
  • A recent survey of more than 22,000 LinkedIn users found that the software and IT sector was the only one where most employers were allowing for permanent hybrid work.

For more details on which tech companies are embracing hybrid, see our Return to Work calendar.

A MESSAGE FROM ZOOM

Zoom is for you. From meetings, chat, phone, and webinars to conference rooms and events, Zoom powers all your communication needs. Zoom for Government, our separate, U.S.-based platform, offers the same Zoom experience but with the specialized security controls and certifications required by the U.S. government.

Learn more

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com. Have a great week, see you next Wednesday.

Recent Issues