"On-demand" companies like ride-hailing app Uber are part of a hot trend, but their hiring practices have driven them straight into the political arena. Hillary Clinton slammed such startups during a speech Monday, promising she would "crack down" on companies for "misclassifying workers" as contractors.
"This on-demand or so called 'gig economy' is creating exciting opportunity and unleashing innovation, but it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future," Clinton said.
Clinton didn't name a specific company during her economy-focused speech at the New School in New York City, but Uber is the most high-profile of several startups under fire for hiring workers as independent contractors rather than full employees.
Companies that misclassify workers as contractors "exploit" them, Clinton said in Monday's remarks.
She commented specifically on the benefits workers lose when they are considered contractors instead of employees: "Fair pay and fair scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days, childcare are essential to our competitiveness and our growth."
Uber is currently facing a lawsuit filed by three of its drivers, who contend they are employees and therefore are entitled to reimbursement for expenses like gasoline costs.
Uber did not respond to a request for comment about Clinton's remarks. On Tuesday, a Clinton aide denied a journalist's suggestion that Clinton has a "beef" with Uber -- but he reiterated Clinton's point that the company's practices "raise hard questions about workplace protections."