Massachusetts law about the gig or sharing economy

A compilation of information on state and local regulation of gig and sharing services like TaskRabbit, AirBnB, Uber, Lyft, and the like, by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

Table of Contents

In general

Selected Case Law

Lawson v. Grubhub, (US Dist. Ct., California), 2018.
Court found that Grubhub driver was an independent contractor. "the Court finds that Grubhub has satisfied its burden of showing that Mr. Lawson was properly classified as an independent contractor. While some factors weigh in favor of an employment relationship, Grubhub’s lack of all necessary control over Mr. Lawson’s work, including how he performed deliveries and even whether or for how long, along with other factors persuade the Court that the contractor classification was appropriate for Mr. Lawson during his brief tenure with Grubhub.”

Web sources

Labor of Law: Driving Labor Law Into the Gig Economy, Erin Mulvaney, 2018
Explores how to fit the gig economy into existing labor structures. 

The rights of workers in the "gig" economy and Part 2, Spiggle Law Firm.
While not specific to Massachusetts, these blog posts provide general information on legal issues for gig workers to consider. 

Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Nolo, 2017
"intended for those self-employed people who provide personal services, such as writers, health care consultants, artists, photographers, household movers, lawyers, doctors, Web designers, accountants, quality assurance (QA) testing, and drivers. It includes those who work in the gig economy and sell their services through online hiring platforms like Uber, Upwork, Freelancer, and many others." Requires library card for access.

Print Sources

Employee benefits for the contingent workforce, Tax Management, 2016.
Worker classification and the contingent workforce -- Employment status : common law employee vs. independent contractor -- Coverage of contingent workers under employee benefit plans -- Special plan coverage issues and problems -- Coverage of contingent workers under stock-based and incentive plans -- The impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on contingent workers -- ERISA fiduciary standards and contingent workers -- The gig economy -- Table of worksheets.

Practicing law in the sharing economy : helping people build cooperatives, social enterprise, and local sustainable economies, by Janelle Orsi, American Bar Assn, 2012.
The legal landscape of the sharing economy -- Practicing law in the sharing economy -- New kinds of agreements -- New kinds of organizations -- New kinds of exchange -- New kinds of capital -- Employment laws and new ways of working together -- New forms of production and commerce -- New relationships with land and housing -- New approaches to intellectual property -- New approaches to risk and liability.

Home sharing & short-term rentals

City ordinances

Boston: An Ordinance allowing short-term residential rentals in the city of Boston, effective January 1, 2019

Cambridge: Zoning Ordinance 4.60 Short-term rentals, effective April 1, 2018

Somerville: General guidelines for short term rental (AirBnB) listings in Somerville. Includes links to forms and ordinances.

For other cities and towns, you can search ordinances by town at City and Town Ordinances and Bylaws.

Selected case law

Styller v. Aylward, et al, Land Court Misc-16-000757 (2018)
Short term rentals of residential property as an AirBnB "without a special permit are, and always have been, in violation of the applicable Lynnfield zoning bylaws, and have no 'grandfathered' protection."

Web sources

Register a short-term rental, City of Cambridge.
Provides the procedure and necessary forms for registering a unit as a short-term rental.

Print sources

AirBNBs, MCLE, 2018

Ride sharing

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.159A-1/2 Transportation network companies

Massachusetts regulations

220 CMR 274 Transportation network companies

540 CMR 30 Annual inspection of transportation network company (TNC) vehicles

Web sources

Department of Public Utilities Transportation Network Company Division
Agency responsible for overseeing rideshare companies and drivers in Mass.

Rideshare companies, Dept. of Public Utilities.
Learn how Massachusetts regulates rideshare companies or transportation network companies (TNCs)

Rideshare company drivers, Dept. of Public Utilities.
Learn how Massachusetts regulates the drivers using rideshare companies' or transportation network companies' (TNCs) digital network or platform.

TNC information for drivers at Logan Airport, Massport. 
Includes rules and information for drivers who want to accept rides from Logan Airport.



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: October 12, 2018


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