Gig work, a type of work that is done on a short-term or freelance basis, has exploded in popularity in recent years. The term gig work is commonly used to discuss work for businesses that facilitate peer-to-peer transactions. People usually think of ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft, but the categories of gig work have expanded rapidly. Although people are quick to identify gig work, the newness of the concept has left many gaps in the legal definitions of what gig work is and how gig workers should be protected. This course seeks to clear up misconceptions about gig workers through an examination of various legal cases, examining grey areas of the law and also providing possible alternatives.
We begin by examining how the gig economy is defined in terms of the relationships between employer, employee, and consumer, and we then examine how the gig economy is defined legally. We also explore how gig work classification has evolved over time through various court rulings. We will then determine the areas where court precedents have still fallen short in the coverage of worker protections offered to other employee statuses but not to gig workers. Finally, we will propose alternative solutions to gig worker classification that would increase worker benefits among other protections.