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Lina Khan Looks To New Antitrust Laws For Gig Workers

 |  September 29, 2021

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan urged Congress to consider passing legislation to give gig workers greater protections to organize under antitrust laws. 

Employees’ labor organizing is exempted from the Clayton Act’s purview. But collective actions by workers classified as non-employees may be susceptible to prosecution under antitrust laws and private lawsuits, Khan wrote in a Tuesday letter to the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee.

Legislation clarifying that labor organizing by non-employee workers is outside the scope of the federal antitrust statutes would remove the threat of antitrust liability, she said in the letter to the committee’s leaders prior to a hearing.

Last week, FTC Chair Lina Khan laid out her policy priorities and vision in a memo.

Khan encouraged her staff not to think of the consumer protection and competition divisions of the agency as completely separate, and “instead apply an integrated approach.” She also said the agency should expand its “regional footprint” so some members of staff will live in the areas where its work has an impact and the agency can recruit more diverse talent. She added that FTC should hire more technologists and experts from different fields to strengthen its work.

Khan’s tenure at the FTC has been marked by enthusiasm from progressives who see her as a fresh voice for an agency that has been criticized at points for dragging its feet on enforcement, particularly against the tech industry.

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