Congress Seeks to Address Employee Misclassification

December 18, 2011

The Teamsters Union has expressed its support of new legislation introduced in the Senate that may help prevent workers from being misclassified as independent contractors. This new legislation could affect the trucking industry's use of owner-operators and lease operators. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) stated that "For too long workers have been denied vital worker safeguards - like fair labor standards...With still fragile economic recovery with significant job loss - workers are too often taken advantage of and lose out on the benefits they rightfully earn." As an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act would attempt to make sure misclassified workers have access to these safeguards. It's aim is to reduce misclassification violations by ensuring employers keep proper records that reflect accurate employee status; increasing penalties on employers who misclassify employees and are found to have violated the employees minimum wage and overtime rights; requiring employers to notify employees of their classification as an employee or non-employee; providing protection to workers who are discriminated against who seek the protection of the new legislation; and creating a "employee rights web site" that would provide information regarding federal and state wage and hour rights. Timothy P. Dronson, Esquire is a former Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist and is currently representing employees in wage & hour litigation. Mr. Dronson can be contacted at (215) 545-8800.