The worker’s champion

Shannon Liss-Riordan represents cab drivers, baristas, exotic dancers, and waiters in class action lawsuits.


Boston-based lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan has represented cab drivers, baristas, exotic dancers, and waiters in class action lawsuits, but as the new owner of a Harvard Square-based pizzeria she’s hoping to set an example for the corporations against whom she spent the last dozen years fighting

“I’ve always liked fighting for the underdog in our society and against the big powerful interests who think that because they’re big powerful interests they can have their way. I found it really exciting to give a voice to those who have been traditionally dispossessed and really taken advantage of in our society. I try in my work to help literally balance the scales of justice.”

“A particular model that’s really been taken advantage of in order to push all of the expenses and risk of running a business onto employees is the independent contractor model. We’ve seen it with trucking companies, cab companies, cleaning companies, and strip clubs. By calling their workers “independent contractors,” these businesses can make employees pay for their work and bear all of the risks, while the business owners just collect their money. We’re looking at people working 70-80 hours a week, not even guaranteed to make minimum wage, not even guaranteed to make anything, and not making overtime for all those hours. I think that’s wrong.”

Original article posted here.