Employee or Independent Contractor?

From Obamacare to Uber, the Law Plays Catch-Up to the Freelance Economy

President Barack Obama

From Forbes, Charley Moore writes a guest post in Daniel Fisher‘s column discussing the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the California Labor Commission decision concluding that an Uber driver was an employee. Charley discusses the challenges court faces applying laws to changing technology.  Charley writes:

Two key legal decisions, one by the U.S. Supreme Court and one by the lesser known California Labor Commission, reinforce the challenge courts face in keeping pace with the technology-driven shift to an independent workforce.

The American health care model, centered around employer-provided coverage, left tens of millions uninsured. So, the government came up with the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. It works with public exchanges, enabled by web technology and regulatory mandates. Eliminate either, and Obamacare falls apart. In its King v. Burwell decision, the Court again backed the government mandate elements of the law, ensuring that businesses can plan for a durable government-backed healthcare option for their growing legions of non-employee workers (in addition to their full-time workforce). The Court was able to do so by rejecting so called “strict construction” reading of the ACA, relying instead on a more flexible application of legislative intent to arrive at a progressive decision.

Similarly, it wasn’t very long ago that the sharing economy became a routine part of our daily lives. Ordering a car through Lyft, booking a weekend getaway through Airbnb or renting a car through Getaround has quickly become essential to how many of us get things done.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that since the peer-to-peer economy has caught on and become second nature for many, there are regulatory gaps where the law hasn’t caught up with technological advances.

Last month, the California Labor Commission opined that a San Francisco-based Uber driver was an employee, rather than an independent contractor. While the decision isn’t binding and only applies to one driver, according to Uber, the case opens up a larger conversation about antiquated laws being clumsily applied to innovation. Rather than move the law toward progress, as the Court did in its healthcare decision, the CLC chose to be regressive, as if the world hasn’t changed at all….

Read the full story at From Obamacare to Uber, the Law Plays Catch-Up to the Freelance Economy

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