[...] In 2012, a CrowdFlower worker, Christopher Otey, filed suit against the company [...] 19,992 CrowdFlower workers had signed on to the lawsuit [...] CrowdFlower set expectations accordant with a full-time employee, but the pay and benefits were commensurate with those of an independent contractor. [...] "I didn't have control over the work I did. It was all done on their platform. I couldn't choose my own hours. I had to work when they provided the work. They pretty much controlled all the aspects of the work that was being offered." Given the degree to which CrowdFlower set the terms of employment, argued Otey, CrowdFlower owed him and other workers minimum wage, per the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company's legal team countered that, because CrowdFlower's workers were "free contractors," the FLSA didn't apply. Ultimately, in 2015, CrowdFlower paid $585,507 to settle the lawsuit, which left the question of the employment status of its workers unanswered.
put this in my book as something i leanred after the fact whereas when i was looking into crowdflower i kinda just took their claims at face value (didnt think about labour law or even just the ethics)
related thought: tech companies pride themselves on being innovative - why cant they innovate a way to pay workers based on their system without running afoul of min wage laws and other minimal/barebones restrictions on exploitation