October 25, 2021

Volume XI, Number 298

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October 22, 2021

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Fitting a Square Peg Into a Round Hole: Worker Classification in the Gig Economy

In a significant decision on the status of so-called "gig economy" workers, a California federal judge recently ruled that a former GrubHub Inc. delivery driver was an independent contractor, not an employee.

In Lawson v. GrubHub Inc. et al., U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley concluded that GrubHub Inc. did not exercise sufficient control over drivers to convert them into employees. The court noted that GrubHub Inc. did not dictate the manner in which Lawson made deliveries and did not require a uniform, specific hours, signage, or training.

This ruling may have far-reaching implications for other gig economy companies if other courts adopt a similar approach. Uber, Lyft, and other companies have been embroiled in a series of cases brought under state and federal law across the country, but final court determinations are lacking. The advent of the gig economy—in which workers perform flexible and episodic jobs—has created legal uncertainty as to how to classify workers and what protections, if any, they should be afforded.

Copyright © by Ballard Spahr LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 46
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About this Author

Shannon Farmer, Ballard Spahr Law Firm, Philadelphia, Labor and Employment Attorney
Partner

Shannon D. Farmer represents public and private employers in a broad range of labor and employment matters. She conducts collective bargaining negotiations and interest arbitrations, defends employers in all types of civil rights claims, and provides advice and training related to employment policies and other HR needs.

215-864-8221
Flo, Washington DC, Ballard Spahr
Associate

A client-focused litigator and enforcement attorney, with extensive experience in the financial-services, technology, and real estate industries. Theodore R. ("Teddy") Flo represents lenders, technology companies, start-ups, corporate executives, and real estate service providers in local and national litigation, arbitration, and government investigations. While focused on investigations before the CFPB, he also represents clients before the SEC, DOJ, HUD, CFTC, and state regulators.

Teddy delivers practical cost-effective results for his clients through creative thinking and...

202-661-2259
Jessica Federico, attorney, Ballard Spahr Law Firm, Minneapolis, MN
Associate

Jessica Federico is dedicated to providing advice to employers who are navigating the challenging and ever-changing landscape of employment law. She counsels employers on defense of discrimination claims, wage and hour disputes, employee termination, internal I-9 audits, and filing petitions for employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

Prior to law school Jessica worked for several legal services providers in the Twin Cities, assisting immigrants in removal of defense, family based immigration, and humanitarian relief.

...

612-371-3227
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