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The gig economy and worker misclassification

Companies like Uber and GrubHub have made life easier for many New York residents, and they have put money in the pocket of many workers as well. However, it has led to a question as to the classification of these workers, and a California federal district court is the scene of a trial on this very matter.

The plaintiff in the action is a former delivery driver for GrubHub. In his lawsuit, he asserts that he should have been classified as an employee rather than as an independent contractor for a variety of reasons. He claims that the company encouraged its drivers to wear clothing with the GrubHub logo, and that the fees that they were required to pay were reduced if they did. He also has alleged that the company reserved more lucrative time slots for preferred drivers.

The company has countered by stating that the plaintiff was able to control the days and hours that he worked, and that all it did was connect drivers with customers who were willing to pay a premium to get food delivered to them at all hours. While this case is being heard at the trial level and thus might not have much of an impact, the decision could reverberate. At issue is whether these types of workers should be entitled to overtime and other benefits that come with being deemed an employee rather than an independent contractor.

Federal wage and hour laws require employers to pay certain employees overtime premiums if they work more than a specified number of hours in a week. Workers who feel that they are being shortchanged in this regard because of the way that they are being classified might want to discuss their concerns with an attorney.

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