March 03, 2021 Feature

All the World’s a Platform? “Marketplace Platform” Employment Laws

Michael C. Duff
GettyImages.com/suthathep chapakiya

GettyImages.com/suthathep chapakiya

Never assume that employee definitions are consistent across statutes or even across different employment statutes within the labor code of the same state.

This article addresses the enactment of state marketplace platform laws, which have arisen as a remarkable feature of the gig economy1 in recent years. A state marketplace platform law decides the question of whether an individual worker is an independent contractor or an employee—an ongoing controversy in all employment law, including workers’ compensation law—by emphasizing factors other than those normally considered in traditional legal analyses.2 As of this writing, seven states appear to have enacted marketplace platform statutes.3 Before focusing on one such marketplace platform law, some context on gig laws may be helpful.

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