The Department of Labor earlier this month announced new guidance that rolls back an Obama-era position on independent contractors and joint employers.
The new guidance came in a three-sentence press release from the department that resets its position on protections for employees by redefining who can be considered an independent contractor and what the boundaries are for joint employers.
The previous department guidance for independent contractors was set in 2015 when the DOL issued a document on the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “suffer or permit” standard, identifying when independent workers are truly independent. The analysis came down to whether a contractor was “economically dependent” on the employer or truly in business for her or himself.
According to Steve Suflas, Denver office managing partner of Ballard Spahr, that position advocated for a standard that presumed all workers are employees unless they could meet the heightened legal standard set by the department.