Podcast: How Independent Contractor Issues Are Bedeviling Employers

Hosted by: David Weisenfeld

The continued growth of the so-called "gig economy" means the number of freelance workers is very much on the rise. But are these workers truly independent contractors, or are they actually employees?

On this XpertHR podcast, Cleveland employment attorney Todd Lebowitz explores that question and many others. Lebowitz practices with BakerHostetler and authors the Who Is My Employee? blog, in which he regularly writes about classification issues.

Lebowitz notes that much of the litigation against companies like Uber, Lyft and other on-demand services strikes at the very core of the business model. Speaking of Uber, he says, "It's hard to imagine what would happen if all of their drivers around the country suddenly became employees. How would that even work administratively?"

How Independent Contractor Issues Are Bedeviling Employers

May 23, 2017

Lebowitz also discusses common mistakes he sees employers making. "What I hear most often is, 'Everybody agreed that this person was going to be an independent contractor,'" says Lebowitz. "'The person signed an independent contractor agreement, and so I should have nothing to worry about.'" However, nothing could be further from the truth regarding misclassification.

"You can't contract out of the Internal Revenue Code or the Fair Labor Standards Act," he notes. "The courts and government agencies will look to the facts of the relationship, rather than any agreement, to determine whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee."

Additional Resources

Podcast: How the Gig Economy Is Changing the Workforce

Independent Contractors - Supervisor Briefing

Independent Contractor Policy