Idaho law lets your boss sue you if you get a better job

California says that non-compete agreements are unenforceable, and that's been a huge factor in the state's growth -- in particular, it's the most likely reason that California's tech economy zoomed past the Route 128 tech economy of Massachusetts -- the land where talent goes to die. Read the rest

Trucking company fires worker who spoke to reporter about working conditions, takes truck and $60,000 from him

Rene Flores is one of the truckers who spoke to USA Today for its excellent investigative piece on the use of debt and indenture to force truckers to work for literal pennies (or sometimes even pay for the privilege of working). Read the rest

Office of the Director of National Intelligence admits its employee held down 15 other jobs and played games all day

Jason Leopold (previously -- Buzzfeed's public records activist, once branded a "FOIA terrorist" by the US government -- has secured records of an investigation into gross offenses by an unnamed employee of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, detailing the employee's incredible workplace conduct, from playing video games all day to moonlight for 15 separate employers while working for ODNI, to violating confidentiality rules to dig up dirt on Edward Snowden. Read the rest

Truck-driving is a modern form of indentured slavery

USA Today undertook a year-long investigation into southern California truckers, so-called "independent contractors" who form a critical link from America's busiest port to the rest of the country, and found that drivers are sunk into deep pits of debt due to predatory contracts they signed under duress, debts that are used to force them to work unsafe hours, falsify their work records, and sometimes bring home literal pennies a week after working 80+ hours (some drivers even finish the week in deeper debt, owing money to the companies they "contract" for).

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New media noncompetes are destroying the careers of young journalists

When Stephanie Russell-Kraft signed up to work for Law360, she naively entered into a probably unenforceable noncompete "agreement" that asserted that by looking at court filings for interesting news stories, she'd be privy to "critical and sensitive proprietary information" -- but she didn't really think about it until Law360 used her signature on the agreement to get her fired from her second industry job, with Reuters, costing her a generous compensation package that included overtime and health insurance. Read the rest

Programmer pay and indent-style: tab-using coders earn less than space-using coders

David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay. Read the rest

Suburban Chicago library set to fire only African American librarian who spoke out about racial equity

Cheryl writes, "The sole African American librarian in Evanston Public Library (population ~75K-- first 'burb north adjacent to Chicago) faced a termination hearing today related to social media posts she made in protest to the library's lack of action related to addressing racial equity in library services." Read the rest

The new Apple campus has a 100,000 sqft gym and no daycare

Construction is near to completion on Apple's $5B campus in Cupertino, and the project has included many odd notes, like the insistence on not having thresholds on the floor of the doorways lest daydreaming engineers trip over them, and some weird ideas about where the bathrooms should go. Read the rest

Across America, employers are using noncompetes to claim ownership of employees' skills

Noncompete agreements have historically been the provision of highly-placed execs and critical "knowledge workers" (and even then, fast-growing economies like California have banned them in the interests of encouraging competition and growth) but now employers are routinely making the "agreements" a condition of unskilled waged labor, from making sandwiches to digging holes for $10/hour. Read the rest

Google order its secretive "raters'" hours cut, so now they're going public

Google often boasts about the 10,000 skilled raters who test its results, reporting weird kinks in the ranking algorithms and classifiers that the company uses for everything from search results to ad placement to automated photo recognition. Read the rest

Wells Fargo woulda gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that darn trade union

For decades, Wells Fargo pressured its employees to commit millions of acts of fraud against its customers, using threats and blackballing to terrorize low-level employees. Read the rest

Customs and Border Patrol can't find qualified applicants for Trump's immigration crackdown

Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on immigration in America and has attempted to turn immigration cops into a kind of Praetorian Guard with flattery and promises of hiring bonanzas (the agencies have been very amenable to this sort of thing, ignoring judges and Congress and insisting that they will do anything Trump orders them to do). Read the rest

Having a job in America means being subjected to continuous, intimate surveillance

It started with companies sneaking their own certificates into the devices you used so they could spy on you private communications, even those with HTTPS-based encryption. Read the rest

Uber threatens to leave Seattle if drivers can unionize; drivers rejoice

The City of Seattle voted to allow Uber drivers to form a union, and Uber says that if its court challenge to the rule is unsuccessful, it might leave Seattle. Read the rest

Kickstarting a Trumpy the Rat inflatable for the sidewalk outside of Trump Tower

Scabby the Rat is a giant, inflatable rat that joins New York union workers on the picket line, an enduring symbol of the power of workers against rapacious capital. Read the rest

Fiverr's new recruiting ad promises to literally work you to death

It's not a parody, apparently: "You eat a coffee for lunch. You follow through on your follow through. Sleep deprivation is your drug of choice. You might be a doer. In doers we trust." As Nick Mamatas says, "Back in the 1990s, this ad would be the result of billboard liberation." Read the rest

SXSW will remove contractual immigration threats for international artists who play the show

For many years, the SXSW festival's standard contract with its non-US artists contained an over-reaching, frightening clause that seemed to threaten them being turned over to immigration authorities if they violated the terms of their deal with the show -- say, by playing unauthorized gigs. Though the festival never invoked this language, it took on a new salience in light of the Trump administration's scapegoating of migrants. Read the rest

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