Dallas Law Firm Blog

In Less Than 10 Years, Half of Workers Will Be Contractors

The U.S. economy has evolved a great deal in the past few decades. There was a time when most workers worked full time for an employer for many years and then retired. But these days, freelancers and contractors make up the quickest-growing segment of the workforce in America. In fact, these gig workers are expected to make up half of all workers within 10 years.

But one of the problems with this development is that current employment laws in the United States say these workers are ineligible for many of the rights and benefits of regular workers.

As the number of freelancers and contractors grows, there are more court challenges from some workers who claim they have been wrongly classified as contractors and are being denied their rights, including employee injury, unemployment insurance and various protections under U.S. anti-discrimination laws.

Some of the most popular gig platforms, including Uber and Lyft, help workers to find short-term work and are at the center of many of these legal cases. The legal disputes are firing a debate about whether contractors are being wrongly classified; this is a problem that has gone on in other industries for decades.

The Grubhub Case

One of the first legal ‘gig’ cases involving one of these newer companies was the suit that involved food delivery company Grubhub and a former driver, Reef Lawson. He was a part time driver in L.A., and he filed a lawsuit against Grubhub in 2015. He argued the company had had ‘significant control’ over when the food was delivered during his shifts, noting that it was very similar to the way a manager has control over an employee. He thus argued that he is an employee of the company and should have rights to a minimum wage, overtime and expenses reimbursement.

The judge on the cases in the U.S. District Court for Northern California did not agree. He ruled that Lawson was an independent contractor, largely because he was not treated like a full-time worker. For example, he did not get performance evaluations, he had no training or orientation, and he was not required to wear a uniform. The judge noted that these are the sorts of things that are identifiers of the regular employee/employer relationship.

As employee injury and workers’ compensation attorneys in Dallas, Guajardo & Marks knows that companies have tried to get away with classifying their own employees as contractors. It would not surprise us in coming years if we see more controversies about these new-fangled ‘gig’ companies who may try to deny some workers their rights.

Have You Been Hurt in a Workplace Injury? Talk to a Dallas Personal Injury Attorney Today

If your employer has wrongfully classified you as a freelancer or contractor and will not pay for injuries you sustained on the job, you may have a legal case. Many companies these days are trying to get around their employer obligations as they misclassify full-time workers as independent contractors. The employee injury attorneys at Guajardo & Marks are available today to review your case at no charge. Please contact us today.