Grubhub Suit To Help Decide Gig Economy Worker Rights?

Beyond Lyft and Uber, GrubHub’s ongoing legal battle centered on whether workers are employees or contractors may help settle the issue, and just what rights those workers may have when it comes to benefits and compensation.

As reported this past weekend, by arstechnica and others, a federal judge has said that the ongoing labor suit vs. GrubHub can proceed.

The ruling came down this past Thursday (June 29), from U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley. The case traces its genesis to 2015, when like several other cases, including the ones against the aforementioned gig economy firms, asked whether workers are contractors or employees. The other cases have yet to make a firm distinction, according to the site, but the GrubHub one might go a long way in giving a finite answer.

At issue in the case, Lawson v. GrubHub, is whether the company must treat delivery workers as employees and thus be liable for benefits such as healthcare and unemployment. Costs to firms such as GrubHub would rise significantly if that were the case. And now Lawson v. GrubHub is headed toward a trial in September.

In the case, plaintiff Raef Lawson has said that he, as a driver for GrubHub, was not given adequate reimbursement for expenses that were tied to deliveries. The company itself has charged that Lawson had been logged into other delivery apps at the same time as working with that firm, and because he was working for others, should not be classified as a GrubHub employee. The firm also said he was fired for not responding to delivery requests in a timely manner, and also countered that he did not adequately document expenses.


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