The Gig Economy and Workers’ Compensation


The Gig Economy and Workers’ Compensation

With more and more workers taking advantage of the gig economy for their income, the rights of these workers to benefits for job injuries comes into question. Sometimes, food delivery drivers, rideshare drivers, or people who do tasks for hire may qualify as employees who get workers’ compensation benefits. Other times, the gig economy means that these workers cannot receive benefits – no matter how severe their injuries.

Gig Economy Workers May Be Employees or Contractors

If you work in today’s gig economy, you may find jobs through an app on your phone or a website. You may work for one employer doing many small jobs, or you may have numerous different people who pay you. Sometimes, people who do gigs are misclassified as independent contractors when they are actually employees. Employers may misclassify workers unintentionally through lack of knowledge about employment laws, or intentionally to avoid paying for workers’ compensation and other costs.

A worker must meet a specific legal test to be considered an employee. The following factors may indicate that someone is more likely an employee or more likely a contractor:

  • The employer’s right to control the means and manner of performance of the work,
  • The mode of payment,
  • Whether the employer furnishes tools and materials,
  • If the employer has control over the premises where the work is done, and
  • The right to terminate the worker.

(Guhlke v. Roberts Truck Lines, 128 N.W.2d 324 (1964).) Courts primarily consider the degree of control that the employer has over the worker. (Hunter v. Crawford Door Sales, 501 N.W.2d 623 (1993).)

Employees and People Misclassified as Contractors Have the Right to Workers’ Compensation

In Minnesota, people who are employees and injured on the job have the legal right to workers’ compensation benefits – regardless of the type of job they hold. Gig workers may avoid reporting injuries because they count on repeated gigs for their income, but workers’ compensation may help them get back to work more quickly. Failing to report an injury can lead to mounting medical bills and injuries that never really heal. In the long term, gig economy workers could lose their livelihoods if they do not receive needed medical treatment. That is why requesting and receiving needed workers’ compensation benefits is so important.

Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.