Employee Classification

President Obama’s proposed $3.8 trillion federal budget for 2011 includes $117 billion for the U.S. Department of Labor.  The Department’s Wage and Hour Division, which will receive $244 million under the new budget (an increase of almost $20 million from last year), pledges to use the money to increase its number of investigators, to train investigators to detect misclassification of workers as independent contractors, and to focus on industries where misclassification is most prevalent.

Continue Reading Proposed Federal Budget Targets Misclassification of Contractors

Previously we have discussed the risks associated with contingent worker arrangements (engagements of independent contractors, consultants, freelancers, temporary staffers, and “as needed” workers, etc.).  These risks will continue to grow in the coming months, as more claimants emerge seeking damages, government agencies increase their enforcement efforts, and state and federal legislators create new restrictions and penalties associated with classifying workers as independent contractors.


Continue Reading Misclassification Of Workers: Restrictions And Enforcement On The Rise

Many employers recognize the advantages of “alternative” work arrangements with independent contractors, consultants, freelancers, temporary staffers, and “as needed” workers.  Generally, employers utilize these arrangements because they hope to obtain cost savings and increased flexibility, particularly in an uncertain business climate.  In some companies, use of a contingent worker expands working capacity without increasing employee headcount, which can be particularly attractive during a hiring freeze.


Continue Reading Contingent Workers: Know The Risks And Take Corrective Action Now

Government agencies are being urged to step up their efforts to address the potentially widespread problem of improper classification of workers as independent contractors, according to a recent study by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).  In a 70-page document, the GAO concluded that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have not sufficiently focused on misclassification in the past, and that they have not consistently assessed penalties against companies found to have improperly classified workers.


Continue Reading Use of Independent Contractors Facing Increased Scrutiny