Brian Turoff was quoted in an article on March 8, 2018, in Fast Company about whether delivery workers are independent contractors or employees.
"Particularly as platforms like Uber and GrubHub have appeared, it's clear that it's great that there are jobs available and that people are able to work and do it on their own schedules," Mr. Turoff says. That setup holds a lot of appeal for workers, and essentially guarantees that GrubHub will never face a shortage of delivery workers. But simultaneously, Turoff adds, those workers are "being treated as contractors, and lots of questions arose because they're not getting the benefit of the protections you otherwise would get as an employee. And that's really where the tug is."
The tension around how workers who use platforms like GrubHub has been strong enough to inspire multiple court cases. In California, for instance, GrubHub delivery worker Raef Lawson filed a suit against the company in 2015, claiming that he should be classified as an employee because when doing deliveries, he had to wear GrubHub-branded apparel and had to complete a background check and watch training videos on "company etiquette." But that was not enough. Because Lawson created his own schedule, the District Court ruled that he was a contractor.
"What this really speaks to is that this whole construct that's been in place for decades – that either you’re an employee or you're an independent contractor – doesn't hold up any longer," Turoff says. "There are factors that suggest that they're contractors, and factors that suggest that they're employees, which essentially means they're neither one nor the other," he adds. "That's where the problem is, and that's where the solution needs to be."