Time: More than Just a Pink Floyd Song (and Here’s What Happened This Week with Independent Contractor Cases)

The day after turning our clocks ahead, we find it’s easier to get up early to not commute to work, to not drop the kids off at school, and to not be late for any meeting you’d ordinarily attend in person since there are none. Welcome to pandemic-style Standard Time.

A bit of Daylight Savings Time trivia for you: In January 1974, the whole country went on DST for what was supposed to be 16 straight months in response to the energy crisis. But the people resisted, complaining about school kids waiting for buses in the dark, and Congress repealed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Act in October 1974.

Today, Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that do not observe Daylight Savings Time, although in a sense they do observe it but just choose not to participate, sort of like how most of us observed school dances in junior high from inside the gym but far from the dance floor.

Today’s post takes a look back in time, but only a very brief look back because I’m going to recap events from last week. It was a busy week in the courts for independent contractor misclassification issues.

  • The Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in a case invoking an independent contractor trash collector whose leg was amputated after a garbage truck ran it over. The garbageperson (sanitation worker?) had been retained through a staffing agency as a 1099 IC, and the issue was whether worker’s compensation coverage was available.
  • A pair of drivers in California lost their motion seeking a temporary restraining order against Uber, seeking to prevent the company from texting drivers to ask them to support Prop 22. (Read more on Prop 22 in last week’s post).
  • A group of cable installers in Illinois won approval to proceed as a class in a case alleging they were misclassified as independent contractors. The plaintiffs claim they were really employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act and are owed overtime pay.
  • A Missouri appeals court ruled that a company’s pet sitters were employees under Missouri unemployment law, not independent contractors. The court applied a Right to Control Test.

In 1908, the town of Thunder Bay, Ontario (then known as Port Arthur) was the first place to adopt Daylight Savings Time. Regina, Saskatchewan followed in 1914; and Winnipeg and Brandon, Manitoba adopted DST in 1916. Germany and Austria jumped on the DST bandwagon in 1916, turning the clocks ahead to minimize the use of artificial lighting. The UK and France followed shortly afterward, although I am sure if you asked, they would say they got the idea from Canada, not the Germans.

I find it confusing that we shorten Daylight Savings Time to DST, but we use EST, CST, MST, and PST to refer to Standard Time—in other words, the times when we’re not using DST.

So confusion reigns with the clocks, just as it does with independent contractor misclassification issues. I hope you enjoyed your extra hour of sleep on Sunday.

© 2020 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.

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