Twenty years ago, it was pretty clear whether or not you were an employee of a company. If you were paid a regular wage, were expected to work a certain number of hours and had to obey a set of Handy company rules, than most people considered you an employee.
But with the rise of “demand economy” jobs like Uber, it’s no longer clear what rights workers have when they’re on the job. With any uncertainty comes lawsuits and a number of pending court actions may redefine what it means to be a worker in today’s economy.
For instance, Uber claims that it is merely a broker that connects potential riders and the drivers. But it is facing multiple international lawsuits that claim the company is essentially serving as the driver’s employer by setting rates, providing training and decommissioning drivers who receive too many bad ratings.
These lawsuits are expected to play out for many years. But when it’s all over, there may be a clearer answer to the question “Who do you work for?”