The gig economy in California is growing by the day. With the high cost of living, many people take on second jobs with delivery companies like Amazon, or as drivers for companies like Lyft and Uber. Much has been said about these companies and the employee rights of the drivers. However, things might change after a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court, which will make it more difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.
Companies can save significant amounts of money by classifying workers as independent contractors. These workers typically receive no employment or unemployment benefits, nor are they eligible for workers' compensation. They do not benefit from the workplace safety laws and may be dismissed at any time and for any reason.
The ruling of the court added steps to the test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor. According to the changes, this classification can only be met if a worker is entirely free from direction or control related to work performance. Furthermore, the work he or she does must be outside the company's usual business activities, and the worker's normal engagement must involve an independently established trade of the same nature of the work being performed.
It is believed that many gig workers might in future be eligible for a change in their employment status. This will also bring about employment protections and more benefits. California workers who believe they might be incorrectly classified as independent contractors can get answers about their employee rights from an experienced employment law attorney who can also suggest the best way to proceed.
Source: FindLaw, "Can Uber and Lyft Drivers Get Employment Status Under New CA Ruling?", Molly Zilli, May 8, 2018