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Employee rights, Patents and angry shareholders

Uber, Palantir and Sports Direct making the news

Uber drivers must go it alone in battle for employee rights

In the US there was a victory for Uber when a federal appeals court said drivers for the most part have to resolve claims against the company individually and not through a class action lawsuit.

The ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals came in a lawsuit by Uber drivers over the company's background checks, but it also affects drivers in a separate suit who accuse the ride-hailing service of exploiting them by treating them as independent contractors instead of employees.

The arbitration clause the ruling upheld also applies to the vast majority of the roughly 380,000 drivers in that lawsuit.

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Secretive startup Palantir is suing an investor alleging he was trying to steal its business ideas

Big data startup Palantir has slapped one of its early investors with an unusual lawsuit. 

The company alleges that investor Marc Abramowitz learned about new business ideas from Palantir and then went out and tried to patent those ideas for himself.
In its suit, first spotted by Law.com, the company says that Abramowitz was an early investor in Palantir, backing the company in 2005. Palantir was founded in 2004.

The company alleges that three of Abramowitz's patent applications, filed in 2015, were ideas that came from Palantir. One of them is for a patent that covers big data analysis for the oil and gas industry; one is a patent to cover big data analysis for medical clinical trials, and the third is for the cyber security rating for buying insurance to cover hack attacks.
In the patents, Abramowitz names himself as the inventor.

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Sports Direct hears shareholder anger at annual meeting

Sports Direct has heard from angry shareholders at its meeting with investors, despite the firm's pledge to improve working conditions.

Some major investors believe founder Mike Ashley, who still owns 55%, wields too much control at the retailer.

They moved to depose chairman Keith Hellawell, but Mr Ashley and the board are standing firm in their backing for Mr Hellawell.

The animated meeting saw shareholders at one point corner Mr Ashley.

Standard Life, the biggest shareholder after Mr Ashley, said it has voted against the company on several issues at the meeting, including executive pay.

Standard Life's Euan Stirling said it had engaged with Sports Direct's board "over many years, sadly to little effect. The responses to our enquiries have been either unconvincing or non existent."

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