Misclassification as an Act of Power

It’s one thing to get the taxonomy right. It’s quite another to ensure that it is applied correctly, and that content is classified as intended. In my book I talk about classification as an act of power. It can be used on people (as the apartheid regime in South Africa taught us) to exclude them from equal benefits, to impose sanctions, or to find excuses for genocide. In this story, Fedex has been found guilty of wrongly classifying workers as independent contractors to avoid paying them benefits. An Illinois court agreed that: “FedEx controlled the drivers work to such an extent that all the drivers were and are employees”. This classification error could cost Fedex up to $1 billion in back-payment of lost benefits. Thanks to Maish for the heads up on this one!

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