Etsy, the online marketplace, has been a large player in the gig economy for the past 11 years. It currently hosts over 1.4 million sellers offering products like art, photography, clothing, jewelry, food, beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks, and toys for sale. While the sellers on the Etsy platform are not in the “service” side of the gig economy like the workers we see driving with Uber or cleaning homes with Handy, they still face very real problems when it comes to paying employment taxes as well as setting aside funds for medical insurance and retirement. These problems have been a big reason to incentivize gig workers to file lawsuits against the larger gig platforms to assert their status as employees instead of independent contractors.
The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) recently revised its wage and hour poster to include information on the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. As noted in our previous legal alert on this issue, the revised poster includes language informing workers on the importance of knowing the difference between being an employee versus a contractor “because employees (unless exempt) are entitled to the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay protections.”
Employee engagement is a vital component to any business. Having your employees focused on the strategic aims of your company, and not distracted by an unsatisfying work environment is key. Employers have long used employee surveys and focus groups to gain employee feedback in an effort to gauge their employees’ satisfaction with their workplace. Gig economy employers are no different; however, not surprisingly, some are approaching this issue in new and innovative ways.
A few days ago, Uber won a significant battle when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s decision and upheld the company’s arbitration agreements. No doubt about it, this is a big win. You might remember a few weeks ago when I wrote a post entitled, “Will Uber Actually Be Happy It’s $100M Settlement Fell Apart?” If I had a chance to edit that post now, I’d replace the six paragraphs of analysis with a one-word answer: