A group of 24 attorneys general wrote a letter to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia opposing a proposed rule covering independent contractor classification. The letter was announced last week.
“The Trump Administration’s proposed rule could lower wages and strip employer-sponsored health coverage for millions of workers,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading the effort by the attorneys general against the rule. “Even more troubling is the fact that the Trump Administration has had no issue proposing this rule in the middle of a public health and economic crisis affecting every corner of this country.”
The Department of Labor announced the rule in September, saying it aims to simplify compliance.
“The department’s proposal aims to bring clarity and consistency to the determination of who’s an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said at the time.
In their letter, the attorneys general argue the proposed rule does not reflect today’s workplace relationships and would increase misclassification of workers.
“We believe that the Proposed Rule does not adequately reflect today’s workplace relationships, in which growing numbers of businesses are using alternative work arrangements, which often lead to less accountability for employers and less compliance with labor laws,” according to the letter.
“In addition, some employers deliberately misclassify employees as independent contractors in order to evade legal accountability,” the letter said. “The proposed rule further complicates these problems as it encourages businesses to avoid FLSA liability by relying on DOL’s new test to classify their workers as independent contractors.”
The attorneys general also argue finalizing the rule would be “arbitrary and capricious.”
The attorneys general from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania joined James in drafting the letter. In addition, joining in the filing of the letter were attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. The cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and the Office of Labor Standards for the city of Chicago also signed the letter.