Independent Contractors

Today we continue with our Year in Review segment, which looks at the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in New York, the DC Metro Area, Massachusetts, and California, while offering our thoughts on 2017. Last week we covered New York and the DC Metro Area.  Now we turn to Massachusetts.  In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017.  Register here.

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2016 Massachusetts Employment Law Year in Review

From case law interpreting one of, if not, the most employee-friendly independent contractor statute in the country to Beacon Hill’s efforts to pass non-competition agreement reform, Massachusetts is certainly no stranger to key developments in the labor and employment arena. This blog post highlights the 2016 case law and legislative efforts about which every Massachusetts employer should be aware, and provides insight over what to watch for as we move our way along through 2017 and beyond.

Continue Reading 2016 Massachusetts Employment Law Year In Review

The Fourth Circuit recently ruled that a general contractor was the joint employer of employees of its subcontractor for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Salinas v. Commercial Interiors, Inc. has broad implications for the wage and overtime responsibilities of employers located within the Fourth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over appeals from federal courts located in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Offers New Test for Joint Employment under FLSA

As 2016 came to a close, New York City became the first in the nation to enact a law establishing payment protections and remedies for freelance workers.  On November 16, 2016, Mayor de Blasio signed into law the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which will go into effect on May 15, 2017.  This new law imposes several significant requirements on freelance work arrangements, which we discuss below.

Continue Reading New York City Enacts Nation’s First Freelance Worker Protection Law

Relying on its precedent, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held for the second time this year that the Federal Aviation Administrative Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”) preempts application of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute, M.G.L. c. 149, Section 148B, to couriers working for Federal Express and other same-day delivery companies.  As a result, these companies can continue to save billions of dollars each year in the costs associated with employees, such as overtime, health benefits, and workers compensation insurance

Continue Reading Same-Day Delivery Companies: 2; MA Independent Contractor Statute: 0. First Circuit Once Again Upholds Classification of Couriers as Independent Contractors

Last Thursday, Uber settled two closely-watched class actions contesting Uber’s classification of approximately 385,000 drivers in California and Massachusetts as independent contractors as opposed to employees. While the plaintiffs viewed the settlement as a victory, so likely did Uber, as it allows Uber to continue to pursue an on-demand independent contractor service business model.  The court, however, still needs to approve the settlement and whether it will do so is not clear. Continue Reading Uber Aims to Settle Two Class Actions; Approximately 385,000 Uber Drivers in California and Massachusetts to Remain Independent Contractors – At Least for Now

The Uber saga continues in O’Connor v. Uber Technologies, Inc. – a closely watched case that will impact the future of the gig economy.  Last time we visited this case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had declined to review the district court’s class certification decision, which certified a class of thousands of Uber drivers.  This time around, the District Court issued an order that expanded the original class.  But Uber has already countered with a move of its own in response to this latest decision.  We discuss the latest below.

Continue Reading Uber Class Action Update: Court Finds Arbitration Agreement Unenforceable and Broadens Class of Drivers

Written by Natalie Young with Michael Arnold

The sharing or gig economy has introduced a new management paradigm for companies, more flexible schedules for workers, and a greater level of convenience and accountability to consumers.  While there are many supporters of this new economy, the individuals providing the services are caught in an undefined space – are they employees or independent contractors?

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Won’t Review Uber Driver Class Certification Decision

If you tuned in to my appearance a few months ago on Bloomberg Law Radio, you heard me bemoaning our legal system’s failure to catch up with the gig economy.

For those of you who don’t know, the term “gig economy” (also known as the “sharing economy”), refers to casual on-demand services undertaken by individuals yearning to fit “work” into their lifestyle unsullied by a traditional long-term employment relationship, employment regulations and other aggravations like payroll taxes.  The casual worker concept appeals to businesses as well, especially those in beta mode that are not equipped to take on the tremendous responsibilities (and expense) of a W2’d workforce.

The problem of course is that laws and regulations drafted thirty years ago did not contemplate that people would actually elect to throw off the constraints of typical employment where they are told what to do, where to do it, and how it must be done, and instead elect to do their own thing – where, when and how they wished. Layer on top of that a bit of the nanny state mentality and it creates the perfect storm of non-bottom-line enhancing litigation.

So what is a reasonable gigster to do?

Continue Reading What Does the Latest Uber Decision Mean for Your Gig Business?

The DOL is at it again.  First it was the highly-anticipated release of the proposed overtime rules a few weeks ago, and now the Department’s Wage and Hour Division has issued an “Administrator’s Interpretation” – its first of the year – clarifying the Department’s views on the appropriate analysis for classifying workers as employees or independent contractors.  Care to venture a guess as to whether the Department raised or lowered the burden on employers that utilize independent contractors?

Continue Reading DOL Releases Guidance Indicating That Independent Contractor Classification is Restricted to a Narrow Class of Workers