As the first labor and employment law practice group of its kind, the practice will address the issues employers will face as the autonomous vehicles industry continues to grow. “It is likely that employers in nearly every industry will face issues surrounding worker displacement, safety and remote work, and unionized companies will be required to negotiate over the implementation of AV technology,” Michael discusses with Daniel. “The most obvious issue for employers is the jobs that will be lost in the transition to AVs. As employers make decisions, layoffs will require advanced notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988.”
Rather than reacting to these issues as they arise, Michael explains that the firm’s decision to start the practice group was a proactive one. “Numerous general practice firms already have autonomous vehicle groups, but they focus on the broader issues such as the regulatory landscape, industry consolidation, insurance, patents and products liability. But it was clear to me, as an employment lawyer, that AVs are also going to change the way we interact with our workforce. Many issues are going to arise that the general practice firms do not have the depth to handle.”
Michael also considers the impact AV technology will have on claims for accommodations and issues about tracking work hours: “These AVs are being described as offices on wheels and will allow people to work remotely, but how do you track their hours? Are [employees] going to sync their work laptop to the car, and does that expose your data? These are complicated issues that employers need to start thinking about.”
Finally, Michael touches on the group’s members who focus on employment-related legislation in the AV space at both the state and federal levels and how the firm is tracking regulations that may impact employers using the AV technology.
You can read the full interview on Thomson Reuters.
For more information on the Fisher Phillips Autonomous Vehicle practice, please visit https://www.fisherphillips.com/services-autonomous-vehicles.