Whether you’re a gig worker, work at a business that relies on gig workers, or enjoy the benefits of their labor, the FTC just announced a policy statement about the gig economy that merits your attention.
There’s no denying that the gig economy has grown exponentially. With 16% of Americans reporting that they earn money through the gig economy, a Federal Reserve study estimates that gig work accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity each year. What’s more, as noted in a recent FTC Staff Report, many gig workers come from communities of color.
The FTC Policy Statement on Enforcement Related to Gig Work begins with the fundamental principle that “American workers deserve fair, honest, and competitive labor markets.” After outlining a number of the issues that gig workers may face – including deceptive claims about pay and hours, unfair contract terms, and anticompetitive wage fixing and coordination between gig economy companies – the statement makes it clear that while gig companies may seem unique, established principles of consumer protection and competition still apply to them. Here’s another key takeaway: that principle holds true regardless of how companies choose to classify the people who perform gig work.
The policy statement points to a number of areas where the FTC will aim to prevent harm to consumers. You’ll want to read the document for details, but here are three examples: holding companies accountable for their claims and conduct about gig work’s costs and benefits; combating unlawful practices and constraints imposed on gig workers; and policing unfair methods of competition that harm gig workers. As the statement explains, “Protecting these workers from unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices is a priority, and the Federal Trade Commission will use its full authority to do so.”
Workers harmed by questionable practices can share their experience with the FTC. If workers believe their labor rights have been violated, they can call the National Labor Relations Board at 1-844-762-6572 or file a charge on the NLRB’s website.
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I was fired from driving for uber after almost 5 years over false allegations from a customer. This customer did this as retaliation for me refusing to break federal and state driving/traffic laws to accommodate them. I was given no chance to explain my side of things, and was fired despite there being zero proof of any of the claims made against me. Do I have recourse?
Instacart lies about giving us heavy pay when due. As well as correct mileage. Also taking away pay when they double or triple the orders. They take away tips when they boost up the batch orders.