Picking up a few runs for Uber or Shipt now and then may be a great way to earn a few extra bucks. These kinds of jobs are plentiful in California, and it doesn’t take much effort to get signed up and start accepting jobs. You may even be among the people who support themselves entirely by working for several different companies at one time. This network of temporary, flexible employers has become known as the “gig economy,” as more and more people are making a living as independent contractors piecing together a variety of paid gigs. However, you should not have to give up your rights as an employee in California and your right to privacy because you are not a traditional worker. Consumer attorney Mike Cardoza lays out your rights and what you can do when they are violated.
Gig Employers in California and Across the Country
While these relatively new companies offer incredible convenience to their customers, it is often at the expense of an overworked millennial. This model is at its best when a worker can earn the money they need in the hours they are available to work, but workers are often taken advantage of, and work is not guaranteed. Some popular companies include:
Rideshare companies such as Uber and LyftDrivers use their own car to transport passengers. A portion of each fare is credited to the driver.
Grocery services like Shipt, Instacart, and PeapodUsing an app, shoppers get customer’s grocery orders, shop, and deliver them to their home. They are paid per job based on the size of the order and the time involved.
Shopping services such as PostmatesThese shoppers can be asked to go to a variety of stores and restaurants to pick up orders and deliver them to customers and are paid by order.
Handyman services like TaskRabbitWorkers with repair or assembly skills go to the customer’s home to complete tasks. They are paid either by the hour or by the task.
Food delivery services such as Grubhub and DoorDashThese drivers pick up take-out orders from restaurants that do not have their own drivers and deliver them to homes. They are paid by the job.
Most of these jobs require the employee to go to a customer’s home, so to protect their customers, the companies make an attempt to screen employees. As a result, even though you are a contract or independent employee, you will still undergo a background check, and the company must conduct it according to the law.
How They Commonly Violate the Law
You may be your own boss in many ways when you work as an independent contractor for these companies, but that doesn’t mean the companies are not subject to state and federal labor laws. Uber has had its share of violations and has been sued by applicants because of them. The most common ways these companies violate your rights are by:
Not getting permission to conduct a background checkEmployers who want to run a background check are required by federal law to get the applicant’s permission. The release form you sign must be separate from other documents in the application package.
Not issuing a notice of adverse actionIf a company decides to deny your application based on something they found in your background check, they must tell you what that was and provide you with a copy of the report.
If you are turned down by one of these companies for no apparent reason, it might be worth finding out why. If they have broken the law, you may be able to take legal action.
Legal Remedies for These Violations
These laws are in place to protect your privacy and to ensure fair treatment by employers. You may discover that your credit report or other public records contain inaccurate information. With a notice of adverse action, you have the opportunity to correct the record and possibly get the job. In California, you can also sue for actual damages or $10,000—whichever is greater—when your rights are violated.
If you have been turned down by a gig employer in California without a notice of adverse action, fill out the contact form on this page to find out if we can help or call us directly at 855.982.2400.