Topic: Opinion Letter

Owner-Operator Drivers Are Independent Contractors, Says Labor Department

Today, only one day before the end of President Trump’s Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an opinion letter that certain owner-operator drivers that provide services to a transportation and logistics company are independent contractors and not employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.  Owner-operator drivers have brought countless class and collective actions against transportation and logistics companies over the past decade, as reported in this blog.  One large transportation company paid $100 million to settle a collective and class action lawsuit brought by 20,000 owner-operators alleging independent contractor misclassification. This final-day opinion letter may be useful to logistics and other transportation companies defending these types of class actions, but it does not create a safe harbor under the FLSA. Rather, the most effective way by which transportation and logistics companies can elevate their level of compliance with federal and state IC laws is through the use of a process such as IC Diagnostics (TM), as discussed in the Takeaway below.

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Labor Department’s Last Opinion Letter: Distributors of Food Products are Independent Contractors

Today, less than 24 hours before the end of the Trump Administration, the Labor Department issued an opinion letter that distributors who resell to retail outlets food products they purchase from two or more unnamed food manufacturers can be lawfully classified as independent contractors under the federal wage and hour law. Distributors of food products have brought a number of class and collective actions against food manufacturers over the past few years, as reported in this blog. One large food manufacturer paid over $47 million in settlements of collective and class action lawsuits brought by distributors alleging independent contractor misclassification. While this last-minute opinion letter may be useful to companies defending these types of cases, savvy food manufacturers that have chosen to elevate their level of compliance with federal and state IC laws through the use of a process such as IC Diagnostics (TM) shouldn’t need to rely on this administrative action to successfully establish the IC status of their independent distributors.

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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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