NELP Welcomes DOL’s Withdrawal of Harmful Independent Contractor Rule


Following is a statement from Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:

NELP welcomes the U.S. Labor Department’s withdrawal of the previous administration’s independent contractor rule, which would have created a much more restrictive interpretation of who is an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The rule was a radical departure from decades of law as established by the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal. It rested on the false notion that workers would somehow benefit from being left out of the protections of our most fundamental employment laws.

Notably, in its withdrawal, the DOL skewers the idea that only independent contractors can enjoy flexibility (one of the main messaging points of the gig companies and their trade group):

“[F]lexible work schedules can be made available to employees as well as independent contractors, so any determination of or shift in worker classification need not affect flexibility in scheduling,” the DOL notes in its withdrawal in the Federal Register

Withdrawing this harmful rule is a step towards addressing a crisis of employee misclassification in industries where workers of color, including Black, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American workers, are overrepresented, such as construction, trucking, delivery, home care, agricultural, personal care, ride-hail, and janitorial and building service sectors.

These workers must be included under FLSA—particularly those who work industries where wage theft and dangerous working conditions are prevalent. Rooting out independent contractor misclassification and guaranteeing proper and broad FLSA coverage is a critical matter of racial justice.

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About the Author

Rebecca Dixon

Areas of expertise:
  • Occupational Segregation,
  • Program Management,
  • Unemployment Insurance,
  • Workplace Equity

NELP is led by President and Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Dixon. Rebecca is a respected national leader in federal workers’ rights advocacy and is in great demand for her thought leadership on issues of labor and racial, gender, and economic justice.

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