Independent Contractor Misclassification: A Rising Tide

Joeseph E. Vaughan & Thomas R. Bond, The Legal Intelligencer
July 21, 2016

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series.

The U.S. Department of Labor has recognized the misclassification of employees as independent contractors as one of the most serious problems facing affected workers, employers and the entire economy. This agency points out on their website that the employment relationship between workers and the businesses receiving the benefit of their labor has fissured apart as companies have contracted out, or otherwise shared activities to be performed by other businesses. This is accomplished according to this agency through the use of subcontractors, temporary agencies, labor brokers, and franchising, licensing, and third-party management. This sharing may lead to the misclassification of employees as independent contractors in a variety of ways, such as employers simply mislabeling certain employees as independent contractors to reduce payroll course.

The Department for Professional Employees, a part of the AFL-CIO, maintains that employer misclassification of employees as an independent contractor is a widespread phenomenon in the United States. They note that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that employers have misclassified millions of workers nationally as independent contractors.

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