January 2017 – January 2019
Associate Professor of Legal Studies, Department of Risk Management & Insurance
Secondary appointments in the College of Law and Institute for Insight
Mohammad Javad Feizollahi
Assistant Professor, Institute for Insight
Department of Labor, Office of Labor Research and Evaluation
The Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Research and Evaluation makes grants for university-based researchers to analyze topics that have direct implications for DOL programs, the labor force, and the American worker.
This project will study all U.S. district court opinions that addressed misclassification in cases filed in 2008 through 2015, the first year that complete data were available through the most recent calendar year.
The project will collect court opinions from two publicly available sources, the Free Law Project’s RECAP archive and the federal courts’ Public Access to Court Electronic Records system.
Next, the project will use text mining and content analysis – the tools of big data analytics – to explore plaintiffs’ misclassification win/loss rates, the legal tests that courts used, the factors that exerted the most influence on judges’ decisions, and other worker, employer, and litigation variables that may be associated with plaintiff misclassification wins and losses.
This research will illuminate the ways in which federal district courts draw the line between employee and independent contractor, a distinction that will come under increasing pressure as the structure of work continues to fissure and change in today’s “gig” or “on-demand” economy. This is the first comprehensive study of federal district court misclassification decisions.