Employers find numerous ways to keep money in their own pockets rather than put it in those of their workers. One sector that has earned a bad rap for this lately is the online delivery industry–also known as the gig economy.
2020 was a year of stunning growth for online companies delivering food and other products to your door. When going out became more complicated due to Covid-19, they arrived to save the day. Or so they would have you believe.
Even though many of these companies posted a loss, they are not in business for charity. However, if you worked for a gig economy company, you may feel like they expected you to do it out of the goodness of your heart.
Delivery companies misclassify workers to avoid paying a fair wage
One of the most contentious issues facing many delivery companies is whether to treat workers as “employees” or “contractors”. All too often, online delivery services label their drivers as “contractors” so that they can pay them lower wages and deprive them of employee benefits. These reduced wages allow such companies to lower expenses and increase profits. Classifying people as independent contractors rather than employees has allowed online companies to get away with paying drivers less than the minimum wage and avoid paying them overtime at the proper rate. As many people are realizing, the gig economy works for companies far more than it does for individuals.
Many states have wised up to this and clarified their stance on what makes someone an employee rather than an independent contractor. However, some delivery businesses continue to resist. Few, if any, will send you a check for back pay in the post and apologize for misclassifying you unless you force them.
Fortunately, more and more delivery drivers now understand the companies that hired them owe them money. If you believe that you were not paid enough for your gig economy work, you may be able to join a delivery driver class action to get the compensation you deserve without the costs and difficulties of bringing your own lawsuit.