employment category, which Aitken
refers to as “employee-light,” that entitles gig workers to certain workplace
rights while retaining the fexibility
embodied in the independent contractor relationship for both parties.
“The problem with a third category
is that you are just going to add an-
other layer of [expensive]
litigation,” Eaton says.
Aitken agrees, stating that
this in-between form of
employment “gets compli-
cated very quickly.”
It’s also not clear who
would set the standard for
the diferent work categories. Blanket
rules from the federal government
might not work for all employers.
“One size may not ft all,” Eaton says.
“You may preclude jurisdictions from
adopting measures that would better
suit their business climate.”
In lieu of adding new worker cate-
gories, Eaton favors doing “the hard
work—whether in the legislatures or
in the courts—of fguring out how
to address the gig economy in the
framework of the broader economy.”
When unemployment goes up, more
people will resort to gig work. “That
itself may create pressure to address
this legislatively in ways that
don’t seem quite so urgent
now,” he says.
Margaret M. Clark, J.D.,
SHRM-SCP, is a freelance
writer in Arlington, Va.
REVIEW THE TERMS FOR SHORT- TERM WORK APPS
When using an online app to source gig workers, look closely at the
terms and conditions that apply to both workers and employers, says
Richard Meneghello, an attorney with Fisher Phillips.
Take note of anything that mentions employees or independent contractors. In the analog past, the employer’s own independent contractor
agreement would have governed the arrangement, conferring as much
protection as possible on the employer. In contrast, gig platforms may
try to pass on risk, or simply “might not have their HR act together,” and
could expose the employer to joint employer liability, he says.