Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review
The continuing misclassification of gig workers as independent contractors has been problematic for over a decade. Several misconceptions have contributed to this marginalization of on-demand workers: technology that often obscures the work that is being performed; the view that platform work is a side hustle; or that platform work exists only for customer convenience or frivolous requests. During the coronavirus pandemic these myths about gig work were turned upside down as on-demand workers were recognized for their efforts and labeled essential workers. With that recognition came newly-awarded benefits, like pandemic unemployment assistance and paid sick leave. As such, the events of the pandemic moved—at least some—gig workers closer to parity with traditional employees, even if temporarily. But the status issue in the law remains, and adds to a problem that I term the “essential worker paradox.” In this Article, I contend that platform workers have proven their value to the workforce and economy, and should be classified as employees.