Michael Passarella Quoted in SHRM on Ruling Regarding New York Uber Drivers and Unemployment Benefits

Firm News

Employment Practices partner Michael J. Passarella was quoted in Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on the implications of the recent ruling on ride-share services in New York. The New York Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ruled that three Uber drivers were employees, rather than independent contractors, and, therefore, could collect unemployment insurance. “Whether Uber and other ride-hailing drivers are employees or independent contractors has broad implications,” noted Michael. “If drivers are held to be employees, they may have the right to minimum-wage and overtime pay, as well as paid sick leave or paid family leave in jurisdictions that provide such benefits, and to collectively bargain and form a union. These rights and benefits are not available to independent contractors.” Michael goes on to say that “The issue of control is one that is central to different agencies' and courts' analyses of employee status.” Furthermore he states, “The New York case highlights that companies in the gig economy—whether in New York or not—need to be careful about exercising too much control over those that provide services” and concludes that employers should always have a written agreement with their contractors.  


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