Author: Richard Reibstein Esq.

Is the New Postmates Decision in New York a Blockbuster Case on Independent Contractor Misclassification or Not?

The New York Court of Appeals today issued a decision involving the independent contractor status of a Postmates courier.  The Court’s opinion supporting employee status may have very little impact from a judicial standpoint in New York and, indeed, may provide useful insights for savvy companies seeking to elevate their level of independent contractor compliance.  But it may also send shockwaves through the gig economy in New York and elsewhere for those who read more into the decision than is warranted.

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Federal CARES Act to Provide Unemployment Assistance to Independent Contractors; Paid Leave Now Also Available to ICs

The Senate passed last night an 883-page Coronavirus stimulus bill, which is expected to be passed by the House and signed into law by the end of this week.  It contains unemployment assistance provisions that expand coverage to individuals not ordinarily covered by unemployment insurance laws:  self-employed individuals, also known as independent contractors, freelancers, sole proprietors, or gig workers.  Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, such individuals will be entitled to “pandemic unemployment assistance” if they are able and willing to work or telework for pay, but are unable to do so due to a broad range of reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, Congress recently passed and the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which also covered independent contractors, providing for paid sick and paid family leave to self-employed individuals.

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February 2020 Independent Contractor Misclassification and Compliance Law News Update

This past month was the first month we can recall where there were no legal developments of note involving class action independent contractor misclassification lawsuits, which have become increasingly prevalent.  Instead, the two top cases reported below are decisions by federal appellate courts in single plaintiff IC misclassification lawsuits: one where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit concluded that sales marketers for roofing companies had been misclassified under a Pennsylvania wage payment law, and the other where the Fifth Circuit held that a highly paid legal consultant seeking overtime pay under the federal wage and hour law had been properly classified as an IC.

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January 2020 Independent Contractor Misclassification and Compliance Law News Update 

While selected states are in the midst of trying to crack down on independent contractor misclassification, the federal government is trying to clear a path and clarify the tests for independent contractor status under various federal laws.  As reported below, New Jersey last month enacted a series of laws that, among other things, increases the penalties for IC misclassification under that state’s current “ABC” test for IC status. The existing “ABC” test in New Jersey was not amended by the Legislature, despite a strong push by some legislators in New Jersey to do so, but it remains a challenging test to meet for some companies using ICs in that state.  Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department issued its new joint employer regulation in January 2020, explaining and clarifying that some of the factors previously used by courts and administrative agencies to establish joint employer status are irrelevant to that issue but highly relevant to determinations of IC status.

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New Joint Employer Rule Will Impact Independent Contractor Misclassification Claims

Many companies that operate their businesses on an independent contractor model or supplement their workforce with ICs may be wondering if they will be impacted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule on joint employer status, which was informally released today.  They are likely asking, “Does this final rule have any bearing on independent contractors?”  The answer is yes.

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About The Publisher

Richard ReibsteinRichard Reibstein is the publisher of this legal blog, which has been, since its inception in 2010, the only legal blog in the country dedicated exclusively to the subject of independent contractor compliance and misclassification. Read more

JDSupra The publisher of this blog, Richard Reibstein, was named “Top Author” in JD Supra Readers’ Choice Awards (2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020) for his thought leadership on the topic of “Employer Liability” issues as well as “Top Author” on “Class Actions” in 2016 and 2020.

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Locke Lord LLP

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