DOL announces withdrawal of joint employment, independent contractor informal guidance

From the Scopelitis law firm:

Pursuant to a news release issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor and consistent with the general direction the Firm has been signaling from the Department under the new administration, the Department announced the withdrawal of its informal guidance (“Administrator’s Interpretations”) on the issues of joint employment and independent contractors in 2015 and 2016 memos authored and issued under the former administration’s Wage and Hour Division Administrator, David Weil. This withdrawal has no effect on the legal obligations of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

While the announcement of this withdrawal signals a return to a less overtly employment-favored standard or test, and suggests the Department’s general direction toward reliance on the rule of law established via precedent interpreting the Department’s regulations, the trucking industry needs to remain vigilant in both actual practices and documentation – e.g., proper contracts – to sustain legally supportable independent contractor relationships. That said, this welcome departure from these informal guidance memos also signals less emphasis on the singular issue of exclusivity in the relationship between an independent contractor and transportation company, which appeared to be the cornerstone of these Administrator’s Interpretations.  It remains to be seen how many states will follow suit.

For additional information, please contact Greg Feary, Jim Hanson, Braden Core, Shannon Cohen, Jeff Jackson, Kelli Block, Prasad Sharma, or Allie Feary.