Jeffrey (Jeff) H. Ruzal, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, in “DoorDash Tests Gig-Economy Model with New Hourly Wage Option,” by Rebecca Rainey. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

rare move by DoorDash Inc. to offer hourly pay could make its drivers look more like employees under federal labor laws, according to employment attorneys, potentially prompting fresh legal questions about the independent contractor model’s use in the gig-economy.

Tech companies that dominate the app-based industry, including DoorDash, classify the workers that provide their services as independent contractors, who are considered to be in business for themselves, as opposed to employees who receive protections under federal employment laws. …

Jeffrey Ruzal, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green, added that “it’s the worker that can elect to change the pay methodology and have the flexibility to do so on any given day or any given week,” which “tends to support an independent contractor relationship.”

“I think worker advocates and management side business advocates will be making competing arguments about this new development. How a court or Department of Labor will interpret it, I think, is too early to say, but I can see potential cogent arguments on each side,” he said. Whether DoorDash’s move will inspire or discourage other gig companies from following suit depends in part on the DOL’s appetite for strictly enforcing independent contractor rules within the industry.


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