Uber introduced peer-to-peer rides years ago, but the ridesharing giant has grown exponentially with over 50 percent growth in several quarters last year and a total valuation of $72 billion in 2018. With billions of trips delivered worldwide, ridesharing applications rely on millions of drivers annually in order to meet the demand. These drivers are considered independent contractors meaning that they are essentially freelancers who are not covered by wage and hour restrictions.
In this two-part series, a wage dispute lawyer in Tampa is discussing this rapidly emerging industry and how the trend towards “gig economy” jobs impacts job statuses in all industries. In the first part, we covered many of the reasons why employers prefer the job status of “independent contractor” over “employee.” In this section, we will cover how gig economy jobs may eventually change the way employers look at wage and hour laws moving forward.
The Gig Economy and Legal Disputes
Litigation is underway in many states across the country as Uber drivers and other workers in the digital world contest that they are being misclassified as independent contractors. The first federal ruling on this topic sided with the tech companies. In other words, workers are in fact independent contractors. However, the concern is that as digital retail and restaurant delivery services become more prominent, long-established wage and hour protections for employment positions will also become compromised during this transition.
The Death of Big-Box Stores
As Sears files for bankruptcy and brick and mortar retail stores reside on the brink of extinction, employment opportunities will continue to shift away from big-box stores and more into the digital world. In fact, even long-standing fast food restaurants like McDonald’s are now offering delivery services of their Big Macs. When companies face certain financial uncertainties, unfortunately, the first thing compromised is often the responsibility to treat employees fairly in wage and hour issues.
Whether you work in retail, the service industry, manufacturing, healthcare, or a variety of other industries, an employer can easily misclassify your job status. When you are wrongfully misclassified, this can lead to unpaid wages, zero benefits, among other risks and negative circumstances. Hopefully, as new technologies and the digital world continues to emerge as a job creator, many wage and hour protections will be established along with these opportunities. Regardless, a wage dispute lawyer in Tampa is always here for consultation.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.