Using Gig Cases to Teach Worker Classification
A New Model Ignites an Old Problem
The strategic role of management, including the choice between hiring contracted labor or employees, is an important instructional topic for emerging human resource (HR) professionals. Although students may quickly identify the cost savings attendant to hiring independent contractors, they often have little or no exposure to the complex regulatory system that determines worker classification. Employment classification complexities have long been a source of frustration and uncertainty for business consultants and HR professionals. Yet the emergence of gig-economy companies, which capitalize on hiring low-wage, on-demand, independent contractors, has generated a new wave of worker classification lawsuits. Recent litigation involving GrubHub, Dynamex, and Uber provide three authentic case studies for introducing students to worker classification analysis, the opposing views of industry and labor, and the compliance uncertainties created by the lack of statutory clarification. Additionally, using actual business cases as a pedagogical approach when teaching worker classification standards facilitate students’ preparation as management practitioners and spur learners to evaluate whether existing legal standards remain viable for an emerging gig labor model.
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The Journal of Human Resources Education (JHRE) is a publication of Troy University's Sorrell College of Business.
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