Law Blog

Independent Contractors Affected by New Laws

Gig economy
Employment Law Update - New Laws for Independent Contractors

A new freelance law to protect California independent contractors recently went into effect and a similar law could be coming to New York State.

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Contracted or Employed? Legal Status of “Gig” Workers Remains Uncertain

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In the modern employment world, people are increasingly taking advantage of the “gig” businesses, like Uber, GrubHub, or Upwork, as a full-time job. While the flexibility of these gig jobs is enticing, those who work for these gig businesses need to understand the nature of their relationship, specifically: are they an employee or a contractor? Many people view themselves as employees, especially when they rely on a gig business as their main source of income, however, in Matter of Vega [Postmates Inc.], decided June 21, 2018, the New York Appellate Division of the Third Department issued an opinion addressing this question by examining the working relationship of a Postmates delivery worker, Mr. Vega. Mr. Vega had been terminated and sought unemployment insurance benefits, which Postmates opposed on the grounds that Mr. Vega was not an employee and thus not entitled to the benefits. The Department of Labor Commissioner ultimately decided that Mr. Vega qualified as an employee. Postmates appealed the decision of the Commissioner and in Matter of Vega [Postmates Inc.], the court overturned the Commissioner’s decision, finding that there was no employment relationship.

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