FTC wants to protect gig workers from ‘unfair or deceptive’ algorithms

The Federal Trade Commission makes its own bid to protect gig workers from exploitation. The regulator has adopted a policy statement detailing how it will address the issues faced by gig workers. The FTC plans to intervene when there are misstatements about wages, costs, benefits and working conditions. Officials also expect to intervene with “unfair or deceptive” algorithms, harsh contracts and anti-competitive behavior such as wage-fixing and monopoly-creating mergers.

The commission said classifying workers would not affect enforcement, so companies cannot avoid the impact by classifying people as contractors rather than employees. Violators may have to pay fines and change their practices, and the FTC could work with other government agencies (such as the Department of Justice and the National Labor Relations Board) to resolve issues.

There are gaps. For example, it might be difficult for the FTC to prove algorithmic abuse, and it’s not clear what extra-contractual “restrictions” might impede workers’ free movement. However, this could still serve as a warning to gig companies hiding high operating costs, fighting unionization efforts or colluding with competitors to keep wages low.

The FTC isn’t the only one hoping to improve the lot of gig workers. A bipartisan measure in Congress, presented to the House and Senate in February, aims to grant gig workers transferrable benefits. Last year, the Labor Department rescinded a rule that made it harder to protect the labor rights of these workers. States and cities have also filed lawsuits and made other efforts to improve working conditions. However, the FTC’s policy provides additional nationwide protections that could further discourage attempts to exploit the gig economy.

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https://www.engadget.com/ftc-gig-worker-enforcemet-policy-211102192.html?src=rss FTC wants to protect gig workers from ‘unfair or deceptive’ algorithms

Russell Falcon

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