IN RE: the CLAIM OF Simone WALSH, Respondent. TaskRabbit Inc., Appellant. v. Commissioner of Labor, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Appeals from two decisions of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, filed April 20, 2017, which ruled, among other things, that TaskRabbit Inc. was liable for additional unemployment insurance contributions on remuneration paid to claimant and others similarly situated.
TaskRabbit Inc. is engaged in the business of providing an online platform for connecting clients seeking to have certain odd jobs performed with individuals, known as taskers, who possess the skills and abilities to perform those jobs. Once an individual passes a background check, sets up an account on TaskRabbit's website and creates a profile, he or she becomes a tasker and may bid on jobs posted by clients through the platform. The client selects the tasker for the posted job and communicates directly with him or her regarding the job specifications and scope of work. Once the job is completed, the tasker provides an invoice to the client via the platform and is paid through an unaffiliated third-party payment provider that deducts the tasker's compensation, as well as a 20% fee due to TaskRabbit, from the client's credit card and remits the tasker's payment directly to his or her bank account.
In 2014, claimant became a tasker for approximately two months and, after she stopped participating on the platform, she filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. The Department of Labor awarded her benefits and found that TaskRabbit was liable for additional unemployment insurance contributions on remuneration paid to claimant and others similarly situated based upon the existence of an employment relationship. TaskRabbit objected and requested a hearing that resulted in decisions by an Administrative Law Judge overruling this determination. The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, however, disagreed and sustained the initial determination. TaskRabbit now appeals.
The sole issue is whether there was an employment relationship between TaskRabbit and claimant, as well as other similarly situated taskers who obtained jobs through use of the platform. Initially, we note that the existence of an employment relationship is a factual issue for the Board to resolve, and its decision will be upheld if supported by substantial evidence (see Matter of Empire State Towing & Recovery Assn., Inc. [Commissioner of Labor], 15 NY3d 433, 437 ; Matter of Giordano [Tender Age PT Inc.-Commissioner of Labor], 161 AD3d 1398, 1399  ). Significant to such determination is whether the purported “employer exercises control over the results produced or the means used to achieve the results,” with the latter being more important (Matter of Empire State Towing & Recovery Assn., Inc. [Commissioner of Labor], 15 NY3d at 437; see Matter of Eidelson [Mulberry Tree Ctr. LLC–Commissioner of Labor], 164 AD3d 981, 982 ; Matter of Cowan [Bimbo Foods Bakeries Distr. Inc.-Commissioner of Labor], 159 AD3d 1312, 1313 , appeal dismissed 32 NY3d 1053  ). Notably, incidental control is insufficient to establish an employment relationship (see Matter of Crystal [Medical Delivery Servs.-Commissioner of Labor], 150 AD3d 1595, 1596 ; Matter of Desravines [Logic Corp.-Commissioner of Labor], 146 AD3d 1205, 1206  ).
In view of the foregoing, it is clear that the only control exercised by TaskRabbit was over the platform that taskers used to get jobs, not over any aspects of the jobs themselves. The situation here is analogous to that recently presented in Matter of Vega (Postmates Inc.-Commissioner of Labor) (162 AD3d 1337  ), which involved the provider of a web-based platform designed to facilitate delivery services between customers and couriers. In reversing the Board, this Court held that there was not sufficient indicia of control by the provider over the services of the couriers to establish the existence of an employment relationship. We reach the same conclusion here and find, on the record before us, that substantial evidence does not support the Board's decisions (see Matter of Yoga Vida NYC, Inc. [Commissioner of Labor], 28 NY3d 1013, 1015 ; Matter of Courto [SCA Enters. Inc.-Commissioner of Labor], 159 AD3d 1240, 1241–1242  ). Therefore, they must be reversed.
ORDERED that the decisions are reversed, without costs, and matter remitted to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board for further proceedings not inconsistent with this Court's decision.
Egan Jr., J.
Garry, P.J., Aarons, Rumsey and Pritzker, JJ., concur.