But the lawsuits claim that although classified as independent contractors, the people have to follow detailed requirements imposed on them and are subject to termination. The contractors are an integral part of the business, which cannot survive without them, the complaints argue. At laundry service Washio, drivers agree not to provide services for any similar business, while remote customer service representatives at Postmates are required to be logged into the company's services for the entirety of their shift, according to the filings.
Postmates and Washio could not be immediately reached for comment.
There is nothing new about companies trying to save on labor costs by misclassifying their workers and avoiding their responsibilities as employers, said Liss-Riordan. "Unfortunately too many companies today seem to think that using technology as a platform to deliver their services exempts them from the law, but it doesn't," she added.
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