USD School of Law Professor Orly Lobel Interviewed on University of Washington School of Law Podcast about the Gig Economy and COVID-19

Professor Orly Lobel Interviewed on University of Washington School of Law Discovery Podcast about the Gig Economy and COVID-19

Professor Orly Lobel

SAN DIEGO (July 14, 2020) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor Orly Lobel was recently interviewed on the University of Washington School of Law Discovery podcast “The Duty of Loyalty” about the gig economy in the time of COVID-19. She discussed the growth of the gig workforce as a result of the pandemic, including the half-a-million contract workers hired by InstaCart® alone, and the limitations these workers experience not being classified as employees, especially considering their increased risk of exposure to the virus.

“If these gig workers are not classified as employees, they are left bare with no protection,” said Lobel. In addition to lack of benefits, these workers also have minimal recourse to the companies that hire them since labor laws, employment laws and discrimination laws only apply to people categorized as employees, not contract workers.

Lobel also discussed the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its groundbreaking nature, which extends unemployment insurance coverage to the self-employed for the first time. “This is really the first time in American history that we have provided a federal program, insurance program, for unemployment that covers the self-employed,” said Lobel. It’s important to note that this exception is temporary, but the hope is that will change for freelancers going forward so that healthcare is not linked to a person’s status as an employee. “Hopefully, we’ll see more efforts and understand that, again, the pandemic is exposing how much we’re all tied together economically, and probably health-wise, and so we need investment and infrastructure, and hopefully we’ll all recover from this stronger, and stay safe and healthy.”

To listen to the full Discovery podcast from the University of Washington School of Law, please click here.

About Professor Orly Lobel

Warren Distinguished Professor of Law Orly Lobel’s areas of expertise include Intellectual Property, Employment and Labor Law, Government Agencies, Employment Discrimination, and Regulation. She has received numerous awards in recent years including the Thorsnes Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship and the Irving Oberman Memorial Award. Her two latest books have won several prestigious awards.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law, and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 36th nationally among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 22nd nationally in past-year faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


Beth Colton
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