The Seattle City Council passed a resolution last week targeting the misclassification of workers as independent contractors when they should be designated as employees.

The lawmakers requested semi-annual updates to the council, starting at the end of this year’s third quarter, on what the Office of Labor Standards and Labor Standards Advisory Commission is doing to investigate and correct misclassifications.

“There are more and more employees who are being categorized as contractors and are not eligible to receive access to our labor laws,” Councilmember Lisa Herbold said during the council’s Feb. 19 meeting, GeekWire reported. She said she had ongoing conversations with a driver for Amazon Flex, human cloud platform that enables drivers to deliver packages with their own cars.

“Companies pay the drivers to do the work of employees but treat them as independent contractors, denying them basic amenities like healthcare benefits [and] workers’ compensation,” Herbold said.

The resolution asks the Office of Labor Standards, the city department that investigates and enforces the city’s labor laws, to:

  • Propose policy solutions to help address this issue of misclassification;
  • Develop enforcement strategies and subject matter expertise to resolve misclassification inquiries and complaints;
  • Develop outreach and education strategies for the Office of Labor Standards to inform workers and employers;
  • Work with the Office of Intergovernmental Relations on those issues most appropriately addressed by the state, and incorporate them into the city’s 2020 State Legislative Agenda; and
  • Work with experts in employment law to perform a thorough legal analysis on ways to mitigate the adverse impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis on Seattle workers’ ability to band together to challenge an employer’s illegal acts.