NEW YORK, USA – FEBRUARY 18: A grocer with a bicycle is viewed as the Times blanket … [+]
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Early Monday morning, a freelance writer and creative consultant named Scott Frazier had a rude awakening: “I was just being discouraged from ordering delivery, unless I understand and agree that @Doordash employees are not” employees ” and “recognize and agree” @Doordash is not a delivery service lol, “he wrote on Twitter.
The tweet was liked over 2,000 times and retweeted over 500 times when this story went live.
This is not news to the 59 million US workers – more than a third of the American workforce – who have participated in the gig economy either as a sideline or as a primary source of income. Claiming that delivery is not a company’s core business is the app economy’s means of bypassing the Borello test, the California Supreme Court litmus of whether workers qualify as W-2 workers – with all the perks like health insurance, sick days and 401,000 and more than that – or 1099 independent contractors offering autonomy and little else.
The Doordash folks who hand over their late night pizzas are not employees but “independent delivery companies” (like Tinder, but to connect hungry people and drivers with food); Your hangover BEC arrives through GrubHub’s “Independent Delivery Service Providers” (same). Uber’s “independent third-party transport company” will take you from the rapid test center to the igloo for six people. And so on.
This ontological quagmire is not amusing to the Biden administration, which is rethinking the classification of gig workers as non-employees: “We’re going to look at it, but in many cases gig workers should be classified as employees … in some cases They are treated with respect and in some cases they are not. I think that has to be consistent across the board, “Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told Reuters last week.
It’s a notable 180 from the Trump administration’s approach that featured a final attempt in January to keep gig workers in the independent contractor zone.
How this plays out in the future also largely depends on what happens in court in the US and abroad. In 2018, a driver made a splash when he filed a lawsuit against Grubhub for denying him worker status – the Northern California District Court that saw the case, known as Lawson vs. Grubhub, later ruled against the driver. Even so, the case was reinstated on active record in California as of January 28 this year, and other cases, such as those seen in New York last March, ended up cheaper for workers and less cheap for Uber-owned postmates .