As the gig economy continues to grow, (https://www.fisherphillips.com/gig-employer/did-gig-economy-growth-contribute-to-strong) some employers may become accustomed to creating external job postings for short-term and freelance projects. However, in doing so employers could be ignoring a more obvious talent pool: their own employees. By creating an internal gig economy platform to notify employees of short-term and freelance projects, employers can create the opportunity for employees to apply for side-projects that they find interesting and that will also allow the employee to enhance the organization. In doing so, businesses can also avoid the unknowns of hiring an unfamiliar freelance worker and can quickly meet the staffing demands for short-term but important projects. Additionally, employees may be able to refer other skilled freelancers to their employer.
At the forefront of mind of every gig economy company is the troublesome question of whether its workers are properly classified as independent contractors. Just search our blog for cases involving “misclassification” and you’ll see dozens of examples of cases touching on this subject. It’s always a good idea to stay on top of the latest decisions involving misclassification questions; for this reason, here’s a review of three recent cases from across the country dealing with this issue. Two of them turned out favorably for businesses (you win some), and one of them turned out poorly (you lose some). Reviewing them will hopefully shed further light on the misclassification question and provide some guidance on operating your gig economy company.
The gig economy continues to grow into all sectors of the modern world. By some accounts, on-demand workers are projected to comprise 43 percent of the United States workforce by 2020. If true, we can anticipate large groups of workers searching for non-traditional, more flexible work options in all industries. While the gig economy model is more pervasive in areas like the ride-sharing industry, we will no doubt continue to see growth in countless others. Could the beauty and grooming industry be up next?
In a move met with near-universal praise, Uber recently announced it will now require drivers take at least six hours of time off for every 12 hours they spend driving. After announcing this decision last month, Uber rolled it out across the United States over the course of two weeks. The company already has mandatory rest times in the United Kingdom where drivers must take a six hour break after 10 hour shifts. Fellow ride-sharing company Lyft currently has a mandatory break period after 14 hours of driving. In fact, several local laws already mandate certain rest periods after a length of time driving in order to combat drowsy driving.
Many of you likely have filled out your March Madness bracket, and are eagerly watching game after game hoping your bracket doesn’t bust. The gig misclassification game is experiencing a March Madness of its own. The debate over whether gig economy workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors—or whether a new third category of workers should be created—continues to heat up with new cases and continued legislative benefits developments.
We knew we hadn’t heard the end of this case, but today it’s official: the worker who lost what is believed to be the nation’s first-ever gig economy misclassification trial last month has filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The federal government has not meaningfully measured the contingent workforce since 2005. However, two economists, Lawrence Katz (Harvard) and Alan Krueger (Princeton), conducted a 2015 survey that is currently acknowledged as the best available measurement of the contingent workforce to date. And when Monique Morrissey, an Economist with the Economic Policy Institute, testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Subcommittee early last month, she cited some data from this study.
Ride-sharing giant, Uber, has recently faced accusations that it fails to do enough to preserve the safety of its passengers and drivers. However, on February 16, 2018, a federal judge in Florida rejected a challenge to an important Uber policy that protects passengers and drivers alike by prohibiting guns in Uber vehicles.