No Due Process, No Rights: How Forced Arbitration Enables Misclassification In The Gig Economy

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I. Introduction

            The gig economy represents a multibillion-dollar sector of the American economy[1], and as many as one-third of workers in America are gig workers.[2] The gig economy has also given rise to pitched legal battles involving gig workers’ misclassification, their inability to seek justice for workplace harassment, and the lack of workplace health and safety standards protecting them. Additionally, the exponential growth of the gig economy has exposed the racial and income disparities inherent in gig work. A decade ago, significant litigation concerning the classification of gig workers began to crop up. Questions regarding whether gig workers are misclassified as independent contractors have real world consequences. How workers are classified determines their access to a host of rights and benefits available only to employees, including anti-discrimination protections, workers’ compensation, employee benefits, and social insurance.

The stalemate surrounding the classification of gig workers is partly due to the widespread use of forced arbitration in employment contracts. Although many commentators have opined on the perils of misclassification, few have analyzed the connection between forced arbitration and misclassification. However, it is precisely this mechanism that allows gig companies to continue to misclassify their workers with impunity. Most courts find the issue of classification to be arbitrable under the terms and conditions of employment for gig workers, leaving workers at a major disadvantage in trying to establish their status as employees in arbitration proceedings.[3]

To ensure that workers are classified as employees, forced arbitration and class action bans in the workplace must be eliminated. This paper will explore the background of the gig economy, the complex issues surrounding the misclassification of gig workers, and how forced arbitration enables both misclassification and the denial of due process rights for these workers.

II. The Gig Economy

A. Definition of Gig Work

            Non-traditional working arrangements in which people perform tasks on demand are nothing new. Examples of gig work date back to the beginning of industrialization in Britain, where merchants paid workers to make consumer goods using their own tools and sold the product to a third party for a higher profit.[4] In fact, labor contracting and subcontracting was the predominant form of paid work in Britain during industrialization.[5]This practice eventually evolved into temporary staffing businesses, which employers used to avoid the liabilities and responsibilities associated a permanent labor force.[6] These responsibilities included obligations to provide employees with benefits, deduct payroll taxes and comply with worker protections, including wage protections, overtime, paid leave, the right to collectively bargain and protection from retaliation and discrimination.[7] Companies circumventing liabilities and worker protections continues today but has been transformed by the onset of digital technologies and marketplaces. These alternative, non-traditional work arrangements comprise what we now call the “gig economy.”

            Gallup defines the gig economy as a composite of multiple types of alternative work arrangements, including freelance, temporary, contract, online platform, self-employed and on-call work. Gallup further defines each category of workers within in the gig economy:

  • Contract firm workers: Employees who work for a company that provides their services to another entity on a contractual or project basis.
  • Independent contractors: Workers who provide goods and services under a specific contractual agreement to another entity.
  • On-call workers: Workers who only work on an as-needed basis, not including workers who work on-call shifts as part of their regular job.
  • Online platform workers: Workers who find short jobs through a mobile or online marketplace that connects them directly with customers, either in-person or online.
  • Temporary workers: Workers who have short-term work arrangements, often assigned to them by a temp or staffing agency. They may or may not be classified as employees of the staffing agency but are not classified as employees of the host company.

Although these categories differ in their details, they are all “gig” work because workers are paid only for performing a specific task, rather than receiving an hourly or yearly salary.[8] Using these definitions, Gallup estimates that all workers who fit any of the above categories represent 24.4% of full-time workers, 49.4% of part-time workers, and 29.1% of all workers. Most of these workers are legally classified as independent contractors.[9]

B. Gig Work By The Numbers

            Gallup estimates that as many as one-third of all workers in America perform work that falls within the gig economy.[10] An estimated 1 in 10 workers relies on gig work for their primary income.[11] However, gig work is not evenly distributed across the population, and the distribution of gig work that is low-wage and inflexible reveals inherent inequalities in the gig economy.

  • Race: The racial composition of the gig economy is similar to the composition in the traditional workforce.[12] However, when analyzing the different typesof gig work, racial inequalities become apparent. Temporary, on-call, and online platform workers are more likely to be Black or Latinx, while freelancers and consultants are more likely to be white.[13] Thus, people of color are more likely to be constrained into accepting gig work that is low-wage and offers less flexibility to workers.[14]
  • Gender: Similarly, men and women perform different types of gig work. Men are more likely than women to utilize online platforms, and gig work is more likely to be their full-time job.[15] Women, however, are more likely to work part-time in the gig economy, with gig work as supplemental income.[16] Women are also more likely to engage in marketing to sell goods online via direct marketing of products or multi-level marketing.[17] It is also worth noting that there are types of gig work that are disproportionately done by women of color, particularly domestic care work.[18] Domestic care workers who are women of color are also paid less than their white counterparts, despite doing the same work.[19]
  • Educational Level: Most surveys show that the gig workforce in the aggregate has attained a higher educational level than the overall workforce.[20] However, the level of education attained varies by the type of gig work. Those engaging in freelance gig work are more likely to have a postgraduate degree.[21] However, temp-agency and on-call workers are substantially less likely to have a high school diploma than the traditional workforce.[22]
  • Age: On average, gig workers are slightly younger than traditional workers.[23] Freelance workers tend to be older, while temp agency workers and those who work via online platforms tend to be younger.[24]
  • Geography: Gig workers are more likely than traditional workers to live in urban areas.[25] There is also a high concentration of gig workers in west coast states and the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly for gig workers that use online platforms.[26]

C. Misclassification

            Most federal laws that protect workers only apply to employees. Employees have a legal right to overtime pay, rest and meal breaks, minimum wage, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, family and medical leave, Social Security, disability insurance, retirement plans, healthcare, protection from discrimination and retaliation, reasonable accommodations for disabilities, and workplace health and safety protections.[27] Courts and administrative agencies have determined that most federal laws are not applicable to independent contractors.[28] In other words, independent contractors do not have an economic safety net if they are sick, injured, or laid off. They also generally do not have legal recourse if they face wage theft, discrimination, and other abuses during the course of their work. Additionally, because there is no uniform federal standard defining either “employee” or “independent contractor,” employers generally have latitude to classify their workers as they wish, and the onus is on workers to challenge their misclassification by filing a lawsuit.[29] It is unsurprising that so many employers misclassify their workers as independent contractors given that it allows them to evade the costs and liabilities that come with employee protections. This not only adversely impacts workers; it also impacts other public interests. For example, companies who misclassify their workers do not have to pay into state unemployment insurance. A recent study conducted by UC Berkeley found that Uber and Lyft would have contributed more than $400 million to California’s unemployment insurance fund since 2014 had they classified hundreds of thousands of drivers as employees instead of independent contractors.[30]

            Caselaw and employee classification doctrine has set the stage for widespread misclassification. One of the earliest cases of misclassification is Estrada v. FedEx Ground Package System Inc.[31] In Estrada, drivers filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court in 1999, claiming that FedEx illegally required them to pay for business expenses such as uniforms, fuel, insurance, and maintenance, despite the fact that FedEx exercised almost absolute control over them.[32] After several appeals, the Second District Court of Appeals in California held that FedEx drivers should be classified as employees due to the control FedEx exercised over them. The plaintiffs were awarded $14.3 million in damages from 2005-2008 and an additional $12.3 million in legal fees.[33] Similarly, in 2014, the Ninth Circuit held that FedEx drivers were employees protected by California overtime laws, again citing indicia of control FedEx exercised over its drivers.[34] FedEx settled the case for $228 million.[35]

            In the years following the FedEx litigation, misclassification only grew more rampant, particularly in the gig economy. In 2016, an Uber driver filed suit alleging that Uber violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by misclassifying drivers as independent contractors.[36] By 2017, the court granted class certification for “all natural persons who have worked or who continue to work as an Uber Driver anywhere in the United States and who have opted out of arbitration.”[37] With approximately 5,200 class members opting in, Uber settled by giving the drivers $1.3 million.[38]

            These two cases represent a small sample of the many cases of misclassification, but they are instructive. They demonstrate that misclassification suits are expensive for employers, especially when they are class action suits. If employers choose to litigate and lose, they are on the hook for back-wages, back-taxes, fees and penalties for each class member. Whether app-based gig workers, like rideshare drivers. are legally independent contractors or employees remains unresolved. Most courts have held that Uber and Lyft drivers are neither clearly independent contractors nor employees.[39] Thus, classification is a question for the jury to decide as a matter of fact.[40] Rather than risk a jury verdict unfavorable to their business models, Uber and Lyft both continue to opt for settlement over litigation.[41] Subsequently, both Uber and Lyft have continued to classify their workers as independent contractors, and settlement is the only remaining cost. However, settlement sums are also costly. These litigation expenses have motivated gig companies to use any means necessary to keep misclassification cases out of court—and one powerful mechanism has been forced arbitration.

D. COVID-19 And Inequality In The Gig Economy

            The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the unjust and unequal conditions in the gig economy. Gig workers are subjected to significant health risks, while most high wage-earning traditional employees are able to work from home, providing them with the privilege of safety through social distancing while still earning a paycheck. In April 2020, Amazon workers staged protests because the company rationed hand sanitizer, punished workers for taking breaks to wash their hands, maintained policies and expectations that made it impossible to socially distance, and made it more difficult to take time off if they were sick.[42] Of the rideshare drivers surveyed in New York City, 66% stated they were not provided with PPE, and had to choose between risking contracting the virus or paying for food.[43] Gig workers in need of cash are asked to expose themselves to a deadly virus, while higher wage-earners can remain relatively safe. This is a profoundly unjust demand. To make matters worse, misclassified gig workers who are routinely exposed to these risks do not have employer-sponsored healthcare (or often any healthcare at all), sick pay, worker’s compensation, or even basic protective gear provided by the employer. They did not receive additional hazard pay despite their increased exposure to risk. At a time when access to healthcare and economic safety net is paramount, gig workers are exposed to enormous risks with no recourse.

            Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the pre-existing economic plight of most gig workers. For example, rideshare drivers are not only deprived of benefits, but they are also systemically underpaid. After accounting for expenses like insurance, gas, and car depreciation, Uber drivers earn $9.21 in hourly wages, which is below the minimum wage in 13 of the 20 major urban markets where Uber operates.[44] Responses from Uber and Lyft drivers surveyed in California provide a bleak snapshot[45]:

  • 15% of drivers receive some form of public assistance, including 13% of food-delivery workers who depend on food stamps;
  • 45% of drivers report they could not handle a $400 emergency expense without borrowing money;
  • 20% of drivers are actually losing money to drive because they have to pay for their own cars, gas, insurance and vehicle maintenance;
  • In the Los Angeles area, 44% of drivers report difficulty paying for work expenses such as gas, insurance, and car maintenance.[46]

Clearly, misclassification hurts gig workers, both in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unfair status quo established before the pandemic.

III.      Forced Arbitration and the Gig Economy

  1. Forced Arbitration and Access to Justice

            Forced arbitration is one of the major issues impeding workers access to justice.[47] Forced arbitration requires workers to resolve disputes in private rather than in a public court. It shields employers from public accountability for their wrongdoing, preventing employees and the broader public from learning about unlawful employer activity. Unlike a court of law, private arbitration occurs in the absence of legal safeguards and other guarantees that ensure a fair process.[48] Additionally, in forced arbitration proceedings, workers lose more often, win smaller awards when they do prevail, and spend more money in arbitration than in court.[49] Forced arbitration stacks the deck in favor of employers that provide repeat business to arbitrators. Statistics show that many arbitrators work for the same employers over and over again, and that the more often an arbitrator rules in favor of the same employer, the more likely the company will hire the arbitrator to resolve workplace disputes in the future. This encourages arbitrators to rule in favor of employers that can provide repeat business.[50]

            Forced arbitration can also be prohibitively expensive for plaintiffs. Unlike filing a lawsuit in court, arbitration companies charge high fees. And unlike a judge, the arbitrator’s time must be paid for—often to the tune of hundreds of dollars per hour. Arbitration clauses may require workers to pay fees that are much higher than fees to file a court claim. Also, because employers choose the place of the arbitration, it could be in a different state from where the person lives and works, causing further financial hardship for employees.[51]

            Many forced arbitration clauses also include class action waivers that prevent workers from joining together to bring their claims as a group in arbitration, even when those claims arise out of the same unlawful workplace practices.[52] As a result, forced arbitration has contributed not only to the sharp decline in class action suits that allow workers to enforce their rights in court, but also has helped ensure that those class claims cannot be raised in arbitration either. Individual claims do not have the same deterrent effect as class claims, in part because the dollar amount of an individual misclassification claim is typically low.[53] Moreover, when the amount of each worker’s damages is too small to justify bringing an individual claim, many workers will not raise their claims at all. [54] Thus, class action waivers allow employers to evade their responsibilities under the law.

            Gig companies have quickly learned that they have a major financial incentive to include forced arbitration clauses and class action bans in their employment contracts, especially for workers they may be misclassifying. Companies certainly took notice that the only workers permitted to be class members in misclassification suits were those who had opted out of their forced arbitration agreement.[55] ­­­­­­Thus, employers quickly learned that forced arbitration clauses are one of the most effective tools to mitigate the cost of misclassifying their workers.

B.        Forced Arbitration and Class Action Bans Are Prevalent Among Gig Employers        

            With these perverse financial incentives, it is not surprising that forced arbitration agreements have become increasingly common among gig employers. A study conducted by Rutgers University found that prior to 2012, only about one third of companies in the gig economy used arbitration agreements, and even fewer contained a class action waiver.[56] Between 2009 to 2011, forced arbitration provisions were included in 31-35% of terms-of-service contracts for gig workers.[57] Prior to 2012, only one company included a class action waiver in its forced arbitration provision.[58] By 2016, however, nearly two-thirds of gig companies included a forced arbitration agreement, and almost all of these agreements included a class action waiver.[59] The study concluded that this increase was likely due to the landmark Supreme Court decisions affirming the enforceability of class action waivers in arbitration agreements: AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion and American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant.[60]

C. Forced Arbitration Enables Misclassification

            Forced arbitration hurts all workers, whether they are traditional employees or independent contractors. Critically, most courts find the issue of classification to be arbitrable under the terms and conditions of employment for gig workers, leaving workers at a major disadvantage in trying to establish their status as employees.[61] A typical example of the ways in which courts relegate misclassification cases to arbitration, depriving workers of a full and fair opportunity to advocate for protections, is Zenelaj v. Handybook Inc.[62]

            In Zenelaj, the plaintiffs alleged that they were misclassified by their employer Handybook, an online platform offering cleaning services to customers.[63] As a result of this misclassification, the plaintiffs alleged, Handybook failed to pay overtime and minimum wages, reimburse required business expenses, provide meal periods and rest periods, furnish accurate itemized wage statements, pay earned wages upon discharge, and remit gratuities.[64] However, the court did not evaluate the merits of the plaintiff’s misclassification claims because it determined that those claims had to be arbitrated under their employment agreement.[65] It reasoned that classification related to the employment agreement was subject to the forced arbitration clause therein. “[T]he evidence that will be considered to determine whether Plaintiffs were properly classified as independent contractors is found in the provisions of the contract, including clauses that detail Defendant’s right to terminate Plaintiffs’ employment, Plaintiffs’ right to and method of payment, and Defendant’s liability for disputes between Plaintiffs and individual clients.”[66] Unfortunately, this reasoning is typical of courts’ reasoning on the arbitrability of misclassification claims.[67]

            The prevalence of forced arbitration agreements and class action bans enables misclassification of gig workers to continue in many ways. First, forced arbitration precludes workers from resolving their employment status in the courts, and makes it unlikely they can resolve the matter favorably in an arbitral proceeding. Second, even if misclassification is addressed in arbitration, the underlying systemic problem of misclassification will persist because any decision will be non-precedential, secret, and only applicable to the individual workers arbitrating the claim.

Finally, class action bans remove the deterrent effect of class litigation on misclassification, which reduces the cost of misclassifying workers, perpetuating the current incentive to misclassify. In response to the significant costs of litigation over worker’s rights abuses, gig companies instituted class action bans and forced arbitration.[68] Channeling all misclassification claims to individual arbitration allows them to eliminate litigation costs but continue to classify workers as independent contractors and circumvent workers’ protections. With collective or class actions taken off the table, workers are left with individual claims in arbitration. However, this offers workers little prospect for relief. Misclassification claims have a low dollar value, as individual workers pursuing the claim are usually alleging wage theft or unpaid reimbursements. For example, an Uber driver in California who represented herself in arbitration was merely awarded $4,152.20 in reimbursable expenses and interest[69]—a far cry from the hundreds of millions of dollars awarded in class actions. Workers are less likely to pursue these small claim value arbitrations for a host of reasons—including difficulty obtaining counsel, arbitration fees, and the difficulties of pro se representation.[70] Moreover, as discussed above, individual low-dollar value claims are less likely to provide a deterrent effect to employers, and therefore they can continue to misclassify their workers with impunity.

            Even if a worker decides to challenge their classification in arbitration, the proceedings are non-precedential, secret, and applicable to only one worker at a time.[71] Thus, even if an individual worker receives a favorable determination in arbitration, that decision does not apply to other workers. This means workers are unable to achieve systemic, broad-based changes to genuinely address misclassification, which affects all gig workers. However, forced arbitration for gig workers has become even bleaker in recent times, with most workers unable to even access arbitration at all. The next section discusses this new phenomenon and the profound implications of this denial of due process rights.

IV. The Future of Forced Arbitration and the Gig Economy

            The Supreme Court has consistently upheld the legality of forced arbitration, basing its decisions largely on the premise that arbitration still allows claimants to vindicate their due process rights just as effectively as if they were in court.[72] Time has proven this premise deeply incorrect. An even greater challenge to the due process rights of workers in the gig economy is becoming increasingly common: barring gig workers even from arbitration. Recently, gig employers have engaged in underhanded tactics aimed at denying workers the ability to arbitrate claims. Most notably, gig companies are refusing to pay arbitration fees and are barring claimants from proceeding with their claims in arbitration.

            Recently, two major gig companies employed this strategy: Postmates and DoorDash. In early 2019, more than 5,200 Postmates couriers filed for arbitration on the issue of misclassification.[73] On October 22, 2019, a U.S. District Court Judge granted a motion to compel arbitration of these claims.[74] However, to arbitrate the claims, the American Arbitration Association (AAA) required fees from both parties. Although the couriers had paid their fees, Postmates refused to pay its share of fees, totaling $10 million.[75] Because Postmates refused to pay the fees, the AAA moved to administratively close the couriers’ claims.[76] Postmates then moved to stay the court’s order compelling arbitration, claiming that forcing Postmates to pay the arbitration fees constituted “irreparable harm.”[77] U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong denied the stay motion, stating: “Postmates’ obligation to tender $10 million in filing fees as a result of those arbitration demands is a direct result of the fleet agreement — which Postmates drafted and which Postmates required each courier to sign as a condition of working for Postmates…It strains credulity for Postmates to argue that the amount of filing fees due constitute irreparable harm when that ‘harm’ is entirely of its own making.”[78]

            In February 2020, over 10,000 Postmates couriers filed for arbitration on wage theft claims.[79] In response, Postmates filed for an injunction to block the couriers’ claims, arguing that it was an “abusive litigation tactic” and “de facto class arbitration.”[80] In the same suit, Postmates also sought declarations and injunctions against the enforcement of S.B. 707, a California law that allows workers to file their grievances in court if they have already sought arbitration and the employer does not pay the arbitration fees within 30 days of their becoming due.[81] U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez denied the injunction and ruled that Postmates was unlikely to succeed in arguing  that the couriers’ claims constituted de facto class arbitration because “defendants have filed individual demands in their own names, and are thus not raising serious due process concerns by adjudicating the rights of absent class members of the plaintiffs class.”[82]

            Additional gig employers have also attempted to deny their workers both access to the court system and arbitration. In early 2019, more than 2,000 DoorDash drivers filed claims for arbitration, accusing the company of misclassifying them as independent contractors.[83] While the drivers had paid the arbitration fees required under the agreement, DoorDash did not, which resulted in the American Arbitration Association (AAA) administratively closing all of the drivers claims. The drivers filed a motion to compel arbitration, arguing that DoorDash was denying them due process—their arbitration agreements precluded them from bringing their claims in court, but DoorDash was also refusing to proceed with arbitration of their claims.[84] Even worse, during litigation of these claims, DoorDash forced drivers to sign a new arbitration agreement when they logged on to the application.[85] The drivers argued that the new agreement could delay the processing of individual claims for years and placed limitations on the number of claimants who could move forward in arbitration at all.[86]

            This development among gig employers is extremely troubling. First, it denies workers their due process rights because they are neither able to file their claim in court nor proceed with arbitration. Thus, they are unable to receive due process, justice, or resolution of claims in any forum. Second, the underlying issues that form the bases for the claims—for instance, misclassification and wage theft—will continue to go unresolved, leaving workers to continue suffering abuses at the hands of their employers with no relief. Finally, this also means gig employers will be undeterred, even emboldened to continue to perpetuate these abuses in the present and future. It is also particularly troubling that, under arbitration, gig companies can change the underlying procedural rules to deny due process, simply by selecting a different arbitral forum. There is no analog with respect to the courts—claimants are guaranteed due process rights, and a company cannot simply opt out and deny these rights by selecting different procedural rules that deny due process to thousands of claimants.

V. Policy Recommendations and Conclusion

            To address the issue of misclassification, forced arbitration and class action bans must be eliminated. First and foremost, forced arbitration should no longer be permitted in employment agreements. In March 2021, the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR Act) was reintroduced in the Senate after passing in the House of Representatives. The FAIR Act aims to end forced arbitration by providing that no pre-dispute arbitration clause is valid or enforceable if it requires arbitration of an employment dispute, consumer dispute, antitrust dispute, or civil rights dispute.[87] The bill also prohibits agreements and practices that interfere with the right of individuals, workers, and small businesses to participate in a joint, class, or collective action related to an employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights dispute.[88] If forced arbitration were eliminated from the workplace, gig economy workers would be able to litigate issues like wage theft and misclassification in court, rather than being forced to arbitrate them at best, or at worst, be denied due process entirely. Even if gig workers are able to arbitrate their claims, individual arbitration creates no deterrent effect to gig employers, who will continue to misclassify employees with impunity as long as forced arbitration is permitted in gig employment contracts.

             While the elimination of forced arbitration and class action bans is a necessary first step, it is not the last. The federal government should also pass a law clarifying that gig workers are employees. This would preempt harmful legislation like Proposition 22, which passed in California after gig companies like Uber and Lyft waged a multi-million-dollar campaign. Prop 22 creates a third category of app-based gig workers in California and classifies them as neither employees nor independent contractors. Prop 22 allows drivers to be treated unlike other contractors, and more like employees, except without the benefits and rights employees enjoy—essentially, the worst of both worlds.[89] Uber and Lyft CEOs have made it clear that they intend to advocate for laws like Prop 22 in other states. It is essential that the federal government acts to classify gig workers as employees to preempt laws like Prop 22 in other states. The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that gig workers are essential. Even after the state of affairs returns to “normal,” gig workers deserve new normal in which they are classified as employees and entitled to full legal protections, rights, and benefits.

[1] Rachel Childers, Arbitration Class Waivers, Independent Contractor Classification, and the Blockade of Workers’ Rights in the Gig Economy, 69 Ala. L. Rev. 533, 534, 2017.

[2] Shane Mcfeely and Ryan Pendell, What Workplace Leaders Can Learn from the Real Gig Economy, Gallup, (hereafter cited as Gallup).

[3] Carissa Laughlin, Arbitration Clause Issues in Sharing Economy Contracts, J. Disp. Resol. 197, 199, 2017.

[4] Jim Stanford, The resurgence of gig work: Historical and theoretical perspectives, The Economic and Labor Relations Review,4, (2017),

[5] Stanford at 5.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Gig Economy Data Hub, How Many Gig Workers Are There?,

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Id.

[15] Id.

[16] Id.

[17] Id.

[18] Alexandra Mateescu, Who cares in the gig economy? (July 12, 2017),

[19] Id.

[20] Gig Economy Data Hub, supra note 13.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] Id.

[25] Id.

[26] Id.

[27] Jennifer Pinsof, A New Take on an Old Problem: Employee Misclassification in the Modern Gig-Economy, 22 Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev. 341 (2016). Available at:

[28] Id.

[29] Id.

[30] Ken Jacobs and Michael Reich, What would Uber and Lyft owe to the State Unemployment Insurance Fund?, UC Berkeley Labor Center,

[31] Estrada v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., 154 Cal. App. 4th 1 (2d Dist, 2007).

[32] Id.

[33] Travis Crabtree, Misclassifying Employees—Making a Mistake Can Be Costly (March 8, 2019),

[34] Id.

[35] Id.

[36] Hood v. Uber Technologies, No. 1:2016cv00998, (M.D.N.C. 2019).

[37] Id.

[38] Crabtree, supra note 46.

[39] Alysa J. Ward, The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same: Worker Classification in the Gig Economy (October 22, 2019),

[40] Id.

[41] Id.

[42] Brian Fung, Warehouse Workers Are Suing Amazon For Putting Their Families At Risk For Coronavirus, CNN (June 4, 2020),

[43] Aziz Bah, I’m a New York City Uber Driver, Business Insider (July 29, 2020),

[44] Lawrence Mishel, Uber and the labor market, Economic Policy Institute (May 15, 2018),

[45] Chris Benner, et. al., On-Demand and on-the-edge: Ride-hailing and Delivery Workers in San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation (May 5, 2020),

[46] Saba Waheed et. al., More Than a Gig: A Survey of Ride-Hailing Drivers in Los Angeles, UCLA Labor Center,

[47] For more information, see: Workers Beware: Forced Arbitration Can Happen To You, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for Law & Policy,; Taking “Forced” Out of Arbitration, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for Law & Policy,; Justice Denied: How The U.S. Supreme Court Forced America’s Workers Into Arbitration, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for Law & Policy,

[48] Taking “Forced” Out of Arbitration, 2-3.

[49] Id.

[50] Id. at 4.

[51] Id.

[52] Id.

[53] Charlotte Garden, Disrupting Work Law: Arbitration in the Gig Economy, U. Chi. Legal F. 205, 211 (2017).

[54] Id.

[55] See, e.g., Hood v. Uber Technologies, No. 1:2016cv00998, (M.D.N.C. 2019).

[56] Elizabeth C. Tippett and Bridget Schaaff, How Concepcion and Italian Colors Affected Terms of Service Contracts in the Gig Economy, 170 Rutgers U. L. Rev. 459 (2018).

[57] Id.      

[58] Id.

[59] Id.

[60] For more information on the effect of these Supreme Court decisions, see Justice Denied: How the U.S. Supreme Court Forced America’s Workers Into Arbitration, supra note 43.

[61] Carissa Laughlin, Arbitration Clause Issues in Sharing Economy Contracts, J. Disp. Resol. 197, 199, 2017.

[62] 82 F. Supp. 3d 968 (N.D. Cal. 2015).

[63] Zenelaj  at 970.

[64] Id.

[65] Id. at 975.

[66] Id.

[67] See Sena v. Uber Techs., Inc., No. CV-15-02418-PHX-DLR, 2016 WL 1376445, *4 (D. Ariz. Apr. 7, 2016); Varon v. Uber Techs., Inc., No. MJG-15-3650, 2016 WL 1752835, *1 (D. Md. May 3, 2016).

[68] Tippett and Schaaff, supra note 39.

[69] Garden, supra note 40 at 211.

[70] Id.

[71] Id. at 206.

[72] See, e.g., Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corp., 500 U.S. 20 (1991); Epic Systems, Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S. Ct. 1612 (2018).

[73] Adam, et. al., v. Postmates, Inc., Case No. 3:19-cv-03042 (N.D. 2019).

[74] Id.      

[75] Id.

[76] Id.

[77] Id.

[78] Id.

[79] Postmates Inc. v. 10,356 Individuals, Case No. 2:20-cv-02783 (C.D. 2020).

[80] Id.

[81] Id.

[82] Id.

[83] Abernathy et al. v. DoorDash Inc., Case No. 3:19-cv-07545 (N.D. 2019).

[84] Id.      

[85] Id.

[86] Id.

[87] Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act,

[88] Id.

[89] See The Worst Of Both Worlds: The Implications Of Prop 22 For Workers In California And Beyond, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy (March 17, 2021),

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