On January 2, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a hotly anticipated final rule, which establishes a six-factor test for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule was adopted after publication of a proposed rule in October 2022 and following a 61-day comment period in which the DOL received more than 55,000 comments. The final rule also rescinds an independent contractor rule, issued in January 2021, which never went into effect due to legal challenges. The new final rule becomes effective on March 11.Continue Reading DOL Publishes Final Independent Contractor Rule

Q: Did the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) change how independent contractors are classified, and if so, what does this mean for my company?

A: Potentially. On October 11, the DOL announced a proposed new standard for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The new rule classifies workers using six non-exhaustive factors: (1) the worker’s opportunity for profit and loss; (2) the employer and the employee’s investments; (3) the degree of permanence of the working relationship; (4) the nature and degree of the worker’s control over the work; (5) the extent to which the work is integral to the employer’s business; and (6) the worker’s degree of skill and initiative.Continue Reading DOL Proposes New Standards on Independent Contractor Classification

Q. As a New York employer, what do I need to know about the amendments to New York’s Labor Law regarding whistleblowers?

A. Effective January 26, New York State enacted legislation significantly expanding whistleblower protections under Section 740 of the New York Labor Law. In passing this law, New York has become one of the most pro-employee whistleblower jurisdictions in the country. The amendments expand the scope of individuals protected, the definition of protected activity, the types of employment-related actions that constitute retaliation, the available remedies for aggrieved employees, and the notice requirements for employers.Continue Reading New York Expands Whistleblower Protections Under Section 740 of the Labor Law

Q: Now that DOL-OSHA announced its COVID-19 vaccine ETS for private-sector workers, what does my company need to do to adhere to the guidelines?

A: On November 4, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an emergency temporary standard (ETS), containing the anticipated COVID-19 vaccination rule covering private companies with 100 or more employees. The ETS became effective immediately on November 5 upon its publication in the Federal Register. On November 6, the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals granted an emergency motion to stay enforcement of the ETS effectively nationwide, pending further action by the court, which could come as early as November 9 at 6 p.m. ET. Other challenges to the ETS’s enforcement have been filed in the Eighth, Sixth, and Eleventh circuits thus far.Continue Reading DOL-OSHA Announces New COVID-19 Vaccine ETS for Private-Sector Workers

Q: I understand the NY DOL recently released model plans for the NY HERO Act. What do employers need to do to comply?

A: The New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act or Act) requires employers to implement workplace health and safety measures to protect employees during a future airborne infectious disease outbreak. The Act applies to all private employers and to all worksites.Continue Reading New York DOL Releases Model Plans Under HERO Act

Q: What does the latest decision on joint employer liability mean for businesses?

A: On September 8, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision overturning the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) March 2020 Final Rule, which had adopted a narrow four-factor test for determining joint employer liability in “vertical” employment relationships, such as contractor/subcontractor, franchisor/franchisee and company/staffing agency relationships. The test set forth in the Final Rule looked at whether the putative joint employer (i) hires or fires the employee; (ii) supervises and controls the employee’s work schedule or conditions of employment to a substantial degree; (iii)  determines the employee’s rate and method of payment; and (iv) maintains the employee’s employment records. These factors looked to the degree of control as the standard for determining joint employment, which was a sharp departure from prior DOL guidance which looked more broadly at the economic dependence between the parties.
Continue Reading Southern District of New York Judge Strikes Down Department of Labor Standard for Joint Employment

Q. How will the federal court decision impact business policies and practices that address FFCRA leave?

A. On August 3, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down four parts of the regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As a result of the decision:
Continue Reading Federal Court Decision Changes How Employers Must Implement Families First Coronavirus Response Act