Employees, Contractors and Hybrid Workers: Rethinking Legal Categories in the Sharing Economy’s Platform-User-Provider Model

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Abstract

A major issue in the sharing economy is the legal category of parties providing services through platform technologies. The categorisation of these service providers as employees, independent contractors or hybrid workers has become increasingly contested and legally complex. Taking doctrinal and comparative lenses, the article analyses the different approaches that legislatures, courts and legal scholars have taken vis-à-vis this categorisation in the jurisdictions of Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Using the Platform-User-Provider analytical framework, it evaluates whether and how distinct categories of workers fit within platform-based businesses, and ultimately finds that existing employment tests and worker categorisations are ill-suited to the complex legal relationships that comprise this new model. As a result, courts must look to other legal categories and even to other jurisdictions to solve the normative questions that the orthodox distinction between employees and independent contractors fails to answer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-269
Number of pages30
JournalAustralian Business Law Review
Volume50
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2022

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