On August 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) updated its guidance for employers in an effort to further protect workers from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (“COVID”).  This update (the “Guidance”) reflects recent COVID developments, including the increased spread of the Delta variant and the July 27, 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (“CDC”) updated guidance, and is intended to help employers protect workers who are:  unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, otherwise at-risk, and/or fully vaccinated but located in areas of substantial or high community transmission.
Continue Reading The U.S. Department of Labor Updates its Workplace COVID-19 Guidance to Protect Unvaccinated and Other At-Risk Workers

The legal landscape for defining “employers,” “employees,” and “independent contractors” can be quite dynamic, as this past year has illustrated. In January 2021, the Department of Labor issued an employer-friendly independent contractor rule that would have departed from the agency’s typical balancing test, but it formally withdrew this rule in early May with the change in administration. The DOL’s independent contractor rule is intended to provide guidance to employers when determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. For employers, this is an important distinction because the FLSA’s overtime and minimum wage protections apply only to employees, not independent contractors. Because courts and employers sometimes struggle to find this line using the economic realities test and its iterations, the Trump-era independent contractor rule aimed to provide a clearer definition of “employee,” as opposed to “contractor.” The DOL has not yet proposed a new independent contractor test, but employers should be mindful that the Biden administration may potentially announce a new rule on this topic.
Continue Reading Recent Shifts In The Independent Contractor v. Employee Classification Rules

On March 22, 2021, Marty Walsh, the two-term Boston mayor, was confirmed as the Labor Secretary by the United States Senate in a 68-29 vote.  He becomes the first union leader to run the Department of Labor in over four decades. Workplace safety will be one area that we can expect to undergo significant change under Walsh. 
Continue Reading DOL and OSHA: Agency Updates

Previously, we wrote about a final rule issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) during the last days of the Trump administration addressing the appropriate test for classifying independent contractors under the FLSA. We noted that the future of the rule was in question because it was not set to go into effect until March 8, 2021. This delayed implementation provided an opportunity for the incoming Biden administration to freeze or withdraw the rule.
Continue Reading DOL Freezes Rule on Independent Contractor Classification Test under the FLSA and Withdraws Several Opinion Letters

In the last weeks of the Trump Administration, the Department of Labor published its final rule for determining whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The distinction between an employee and independent contractor is of critical importance because independent contractors are not entitled to the benefits of the FLSA, namely minimum wage and overtime.
Continue Reading DOL Issues Final Rule on Independent Contractor Classification Test under the FLSA

The U.S. Department of Labor recently released a proposed rule seeking to clarify independent contractor vs. employee status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.   The proposed rule seeks to simplify the “economic realities” test currently applied by federal courts in various forms.
Continue Reading Deadline Approaching to Submit Comments on DOL Proposed Independent Contractor Rule

Last month, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York invalidated portions of the Department of Labor’s Final Rule on joint employment, holding that parts of the Final Rule conflicted with the statutory language of the FLSA and chiding the DOL for failing to adequately explain why the Final Rule departed from the DOL’s own prior interpretations.
Continue Reading Court Invalidates DOL’s Final Rule On Joint Employment Under The FLSA