DOL is Watching: Are You properly Classifying Employees?

posted on: Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Recently, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Administrator’s Interpretation regarding the classification of independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA or Act). Much has been written about this “interpretation.” In review, the interpretation is best understood as an aspirational view based on an administrative belief that all workers should be employees. While DOL’s interpretation is supported by case law, in many cases, the supporting law constitutes minority or aberrational positions. Whether DOL’s position is ultimately sustained by the courts or not, it is important to understand DOL’s enforcement position.

The DOL takes the position that “most workers are employees under the FLSA’s broad definitions.” This pronouncement strongly signals that the DOL will continue to aggressively pursue misclassification claims. The DOL has entered into memoranda of understanding with at least 25 state enforcement agencies, as well as the IRS, in order to bring enforcement actions regarding alleged misclassifications.

Michael F. Sabitoni: I’m thrilled to see crackdown on bad R.I. businesses

By Michael F. Sabitoni

Posted Sep. 18, 2015 at 2:01 AM

A $730,000 fine! That is what a construction subcontractor hanging drywall recently voluntarily agreed to pay to Rhode Island for misclassification and wage and hour violations on just one public works project.
According to the Sept. 1 news story “R.I. construction firm settles with DLT to pay more than $730,000 in back wages, penalties,” the subcontractor’s lawyer actually commended the owner of the company for coming “to the plate” and working “to make things right” rather than fleeing the country and/or filing bankruptcy. Wow, what an upstanding citizen!

When someone blatantly exploits workers in such an egregious way, we in the trades do not know how anyone could commend the perpetrator in any respect. The fact of the matter is the only reason this contractor is coming “to the plate” is not because of character, it is because of money and/or profits. It goes to show you how lucrative cheating is in the construction industry.

(Read More)

Misclassification of workers called a ‘serious’ problem

Laurie Merrill, The Republic
8:13 p.m. MST April 1, 2015


The federal government is using enforcement and education in its ongoing battle to stop construction businesses from hiring off-the-books laborers to cut costs, a Labor Department official said.

“There are, sadly, businesses out there that use misclassification as a business model,” David Weil, U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division administrator, said at a construction industry seminar in Phoenix Wednesday.

The practice of paying lower wages to untrained workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors is growing, Weil said. By doing so, companies avoid paying taxes, employment insurance, liability coverage and legal wages. Underpaid employees often are afraid to come forward.

“The misclassification of employees as independent contractor presents one of the most serious problems facing affected employees, employers and the entire economy,” Weil said.

(Read More)