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DOJ & FTC Work To Expand Gig Worker Rights

 |  February 22, 2022

The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are pushing forward with their support for making changes to antitrust law that would make it easier for gig economy workers to engage in labor organizing, reported Bloomberg Law. 

FTC Chair Lina Khan, since taking over the agency, has frequently talked about potential changes that would clarify that current antitrust exemptions for traditional unions can extend to app-based workers classified as independent contractors by companies such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash Under current law, contractors that attempt to unionize or engage in other collective action could draw antitrust liability.

Justice Department is urging NLRB to redefine gig workers as employees. The National Labor Relations Board’s Trump-era worker classification test has resulted in a higher rate of employee wins than the broader standard set during the Obama administration, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis conducted.

Related: DOJ Seeks Clarity In Gig Worker Employment Classification

The NLRB, which flipped from a Republican to Democratic majority in September, announced in December its intention to revamp its employment classification test in a case involving a unionization bid at the Atlanta Opera Inc. In its invitation for public comments, the board asked for views on returning to the FedEx standard.

Both the Trump- and Obama-era tests use the same 10 factors drawn from common law, which include the amount of control a company has over the work, the skill required for the job, and how the worker is paid.

Workers deemed as employees under the National Labor Relations Act get unionization rights and other protections for group action to improve the workplace. Many companies use independent contractors in part to avoid the expense and legal liability that comes with employing workers.

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