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On Demand

Basics of the “Gig Economy”: Law, Policy, and the Uncertain Status of On-Demand Employees

1h 1m

Created on November 11, 2016



Not a day goes by without reference to the “gig economy” and the transformation of consumption and work that it has (or soon will) cause. Debate rages over what the gig economy is, and whether it benefits individuals and the economy. On one side, entrepreneurs and high-profile corporate officers wax poetic about using revolutionary technology to catalyze economic growth and exploit the untapped potential of the workforce, giving opportunities to all those marginalized by outdated industrial models. Critics decry the race to the bottom and calculated efforts by profit-driven companies to accumulate wealth off the underpaid labor of contingent workers.

In the last five years, legislatures, regulators, and the legal profession have begun grappling with the fundamental questions posed by the gig economy. How is it different from what came before? Does it require different regulatory approaches, or a different body of law? What is at stake if the government intervenes, and if it does not?

This course, presented by Alek Felstiner, an employment and labor attorney at Levy Ratner, P.C., offers an introduction to the legal issues implicated by the gig economy, the central questions dominating policy debate, recent developments in litigation, and the competing proposals for regulatory response that will likely shape the future of this emerging sector. 

Learning Objectives:
  1. Identify and explain the nature and implications of “employee” status under the law
  2. Gain familiarity with the gig economy and what does and does not differentiate it from other industrial models
  3. Become current on recent litigation developments
  4. Explain the values and principles underlying debates over how to regulate the gig economy, and review ideas coming down the pipeline

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