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Labor Secretary Reverses Rules on Employer Responsibility

June 16, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Washington, DC - Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has reversed two department policies regulating employers who claim their workers are independent contractors or employed by third parties.

On June 7, he announced that he was rescinding Obama-era enforcement guidelines that deemed companies where workers are hired by franchisees or through staffing agencies “joint employers” who could be held legally responsible for pay and working conditions they have “indirect control” over. He also said the department would no longer use six standards it set in 2015 to judge whether an “independent contractor” is genuinely in business for themselves or is a worker misclassified to avoid having to obey minimum- wage laws and other regulations. Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation, praised Acosta’s announcement as “an important first step in reversing one of the most onerous regulations imposed by the previous administration on businesses.” Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, called it “disappointing,” saying the rescinded rules had given both employers and workers concrete information about their rights and responsibilities. Read more


 

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