Many Texas workers find themselves earning money in the gig economy. The rise of technology companies that offer services that connect customers with service providers has created controversy about the status of the people providing those services.
The companies insist that they only provide applications that enable a transaction, but some workers claim that they are employees entitled to overtime pay and not the independent contractors that the companies consider them. A federal court trial is addressing the classification of a man who worked as a food delivery driver through GrubHub. His lawsuit demands overtime pay and reimbursement of business expenses as well as the ability to create a class action representing other drivers.
A statement from GrubHub noted that the man had complete control over his schedule. His attorney, however, argued that a company connecting customers with workers was an employer. GrubHub created shifts during profitable times for drivers who made fast deliveries. She said this represented control of work scheduling, which was something an employer did. The company also promoted the use of clothing and materials by drivers that carried the GrubHub brand.
The classification of a worker as an employee or independent contractor impacts the application of wage and hour laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act provides employees with rights to overtime pay, which an independent contractor would not have. People who believes that an employer is dodging overtime pay by mislabeling them as independent contractor or simply ignoring the law may want to meet with an experienced employment law attorney in order to see what recourse might be available.