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to perform the organization’s core
functions, as opposed to work supporting individual projects. The greater
the similarity between what your
employees and your gig workers do, the
greater your risk of blurring the lines—
and running afoul of the law.
APPLY THE MOST STRINGENT
When classifying gig workers, apply
the most stringent employee and
independent contractor defnitions
applicable in the relevant jurisdictions. Keep in mind, however, that
“relevant” could very well refer to the
workers’ locations as opposed to the
employer’s physical sites.
In addition to having various clas-
PREPARE FOR AN UNCERTAIN
sifcation tests, state and local law-
makers are considering and enacting
other protections for gig workers,
notably those mandating paid sick
leave and portable benefts.
an employer knew or should have
known about a gig worker’s miscon-
duct, the employer “has the same
responsibility to act as it would if the
conduct were committed by one of
its own employees,” Eaton says; that
is, the employer has a “responsibility
to prevent and correct.” Similarly,
follow normal procedures when in-
vestigating complaints on behalf of a
gig worker accuser, Eaton advises.
“Taking steps to provide a workplace
free of harassment will never be suf-
fcient to establish the level of control
necessary to create an employment
relationship with a gig worker,” he says.
As project-based talent plays a greater
role in the employment landscape, all
stakeholders are looking for great-
er certainty in classifying workers.
Some experts are pushing for a third
“They’re talking about how difcult
this is from a compliance standpoint.”
Regardless of the formal classifca-
tion, what matters most is how you
treat gig workers—especially if they
work onsite or interact virtually
with the company’s employees. “Cre-
ate distance between you and them,”
Meneghello says. “No handbook, no
supervisor, no performance evalua-
tions. … The more you insert your-
self into their work life, the more it
appears you are an employer.”
That said, in the case of poten-
tial harassment, employers should
provide the same protections they
would to regular employees. If