Nearly 20 percent of all workers work in the gig economy, according to a 2018 NPR/Marist survey, and a Bankrate study found that number could be as high as 44 million. With the high number of Americans participating in gig work and the growing reports of mistreatment of these workers, human resources leaders are needed more than ever, according to one workplace authority.

“While ongoing legal disputes are currently determining the employment status of many of these workers, often they are classified as independent contractors. Meanwhile, workers in these side gigs are reporting inappropriate or dangerous conditions during some of these jobs, with very little recourse,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Legal cases are winding through the United States courts to determine the employment status of gig workers. In April 2018, in the case of Razak v. Uber Technologies, Inc., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, No. 2:16-cv-00573, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that limo drivers for rideshare service UberBLACK do not meet the standard required to be considered employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. A similar ruling occurred in Florida, stating these workers were not employees in that state.

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