The Gig Economy & The Future of Employment and Labor Law

16 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2016 Last revised: 1 Feb 2023

See all articles by Orly Lobel

Orly Lobel

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: 2016


In April 2016, Professor Orly Lobel delivered the 12th Annual Pemberton Lecture at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lobel asks, what is the future of employment and labor law protections when reality is rapidly transforming the ways we work? What is the status of gig work and what are the rights as well as duties of gig workers? She proposes four paths for systematic reform, where each path is complementary rather than mutually exclusive to the others. The first path is to clarify and simplify the notoriously malleable classification doctrine; the second is to expand certain employment protections to all workers, regardless of classification, or in other words to altogether reject classification; the third is to create special rules for intermediate categories; and the fourth is to disassociate certain social protections from the work.

Keywords: Gig Economy, On-demand employment, Sharing Economy, Peer-to-Peer, 1099 Economy, Contingent employment, Employment law, Labor law, Labor and Employment law, Employee status, Independent contractors, Temporary employment, Part-time employment, contracts, arbitration, wage and hour, discrimination

JEL Classification: O34, O15, J41, A10, J21, J60, J61, J58, J62, J63, J68, K00, K2, K21, K23, L51, K32, I1, I18, H3, H51

Suggested Citation

Lobel, Orly, The Gig Economy & The Future of Employment and Labor Law (2016). University of San Francisco Law Review, Vol. 51, No. 1, 2017, San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 16-223, Available at SSRN:

Orly Lobel (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States


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