In recent years, the gig economy has expanded across several industries as technology changes the way people work. Gig economy employers have relied heavily on the use of independent contractors to make their services available at affordable prices. However, some of the workers say they are being misclassified and are being denied their employee rights. A recent California Supreme Court ruling sided with the workers, saying that they should be offered the same benefits as employees using something called the ABC test standard.
The ABC test is a three-part measure of whether a worker should be considered an employee or an independent contractor. If a worker is to be considered an independent contractor, he or she must be able to provide the service free from the company's control, the service the person provides must be outside the company's core business and the contractor must be an independent professional that also offers similar services to other businesses. In the gig economy, for example, an Uber driver that has no previous driving experience and who does not also work for other driving companies is unlikely to be considered a contractor.
Some companies like Uber are trying to prove that they are not providing services, but are in fact tech companies. Under the new ABC standard supported by the state Supreme Court, workers have a much better chance to prove they are employees. Experts believe that in the future these companies will have to either offer much more freedom to their workers or that they will have to classify them as employees.
A worker in California who believes that his or her employee rights are being violated by being misclassified as an independent contractor may wish to pursue their options for full compensation. A worker found to be misclassified may be able to recover lost wages, expenses and workers' compensation benefits. An experienced employment law attorney may be able to offer more insight on the circumstances regarding one's exact situation.
Source: money.cnn.com, "California ruling puts pressure on Uber, Lyft and other gig economy employers", Lydia Depillis, May 1, 2018