Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label independent contractor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label independent contractor. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Fed DOL Implements Multifactor Analysis for Worker Classification as Employee v. Independent Contractor

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced that on March 11, 2024, a new rule, 89 FR 1638, will go into effect restoring the multifactor analysis used by courts for decades in determining if an individual is an employee or Independent Contractor (IC) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

Misclassifying workers as ICs rather than employees can result in wage claims with liquidated damages and attorneys' fees under the FLSA, which can be catastrophic for business to continue to exist. Simply, you have to get it right and ICs that are misclassified have excellent cases because liquidated damages are two (2) times the amount not received. 

This new rule is being announced because DOL had concerns about the 2021 IC Rule where it did not fully align with the FLSA's text and purpose. 

The six factors under the New Rule are:

  1. Opportunity for profit or loss
  2. Financial stake and nature of resources invested in the work
  3. Degree of permanence of the work relationship
  4. Degree of control the employer has over the person’s work
  5. Whether the work is essential to the employer’s business
  6. Worker’s skill and initiative

This new rule provides a consistent approach for conducting business with ICs and employes. 

You can read the Department of Labor's release on this new law here. You can read the final rule here

Friday, October 14, 2022

New Independent Contractor Standard Proposed by Department of Labor for FLSA

If you are interested in wage and hour claims, or better yet if you are a business owner or manager, you are going to want to read this. 

On October 13, 2022, the Department of Labor opened the comment period, which runs through November 28, 2022, for it's revised analysis to determine if an individual is an employee or an independent contractor for a wage and hour claim (i.e., misclassification claim). As a reminder, independent contractors are also known as self-employed workers and freelancers, and are considered to be in business for themselves and therefore, not entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

However, if an employer gets this wrong, by considering an employee an independent contractor, tht employer can be subject to penalty, called liquidated damages, and more. It's a catastrophic mistake that really needs to be avoided at all costs. 

The Proposed Rulemaking is available here in full.

Comments can be made electronically at Federal eRulemaking Portal at

In summary, the Proposed Rulemaking is attempting to reassert the Economic Reality Test, where "[t]he ultimate inquiry is whether, as a matter of economic reality, the worker is either economically dependent on the employer for work (and is thus an employee) or is in business for themself (and is thus an independent contractor)." In analyzing the test, the following, non-exclusive facts are generally examined, including: "the opportunity for profit or loss, investment, permanency, the degree of control by the employer over the worker, whether the work is an integral part of the employer's business, and skill and initiative." Under the Proposed Rulemaking, the Department of Labor will examine the factors in the Economic Reality Test by returned to a totality-of-the-circumstances analysis rather than focusing on core factors. No longer will two factors be considered most probative and carry greater weight. Now, all factors matter and should be analyzed when determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee who is subject to rights under the FLSA. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Workplace Discrimination FAQs

Is employment discrimination illegal?


Yes, discrimination in employment is illegal in the United States. Depending on the state you live in, there may be even greater protections, rights, and damages available to victims of workplace discrimination.


What qualifies as employment discrimination?


The laws enforced by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and your individual state, entitle victims to sue for compensation in the event of unfair treatment based on their protected status or protected class.


While these vary from state-to-state, they may include the following: race, ethnic background, visible traits (hair texture, hairstyle, donning of religious garments or items), color, national origin, citizenship status, alienage status, immigration status, lawful source of income (subsidy recipient status), occupation, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (transgender status), domestic violence victim status, stalking victim status, sex offense victim status, familial status, pregnancy, presence of children, handicap (disability), age, military status, uniformed service, veteran status, first responder status, arrest record, and sealed conviction record.


Does discrimination have to be intentional to warrant compensation?


No. Regardless of whether the discrimination was unintentional or caused by implicit biases, you are entitled to fair compensation.


What is the most common workplace discrimination?


The most common types of discrimination in the workplace include racial discrimination, age discrimination, sex or gender discrimination, and disability discrimination.


Can an independent contractor sue for discrimination?


In many places, you can sue for workplace discrimination whether you are an employee, a domestic worker, or an independent contractor. If you are unsure of whether or not this applies in your state or locale, it’s best to consult with a skilled employment discrimination lawyer.


Who do workplace discrimination laws apply to? 


You have a right to compensation if you are discriminated against by anyone in the workplace. This could include a boss, coworker, vendor, client, patron, temp agency, or franchisor. 

Where can discrimination occur?

While workplace discrimination often occurs in the office, it can happen anywhere—over a conference call, in a meeting, at a holiday party, or at a work lunch—so long as you were fulfilling your work responsibilities at the time of the discriminatory incident. 


How do I know if I have been discriminated against at work?


Federal and state laws prevent hiring managers from changing available compensation, rates of pay, hours, or availability of employment based on your protected class status. Wages must be substantially equal between genders and, in cities like New York City, wage transparency will be required when jobs are advertised.


If you have been treated unfairly in any of these ways, have been spoken to in a demeaning way, or have been subjected to offensive jokes or comments based on your protected class status, then you may have a case for workplace discrimination and should consider reaching out to an experienced New York discrimination lawyer.


Can I be fired for speaking out against discrimination?


Not legally, no. If you are speaking out against discrimination in the workplace, you are protected from retaliation. This is true regardless of whether you are speaking out for yourself or on behalf of someone else. If you or a loved one have been fired or treated unfairly for speaking out against discrimination at work, we would love to take on your case and ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Give us a call.


Can you sue for workplace discrimination?


Yes. Not only is it possible to sue for workplace discrimination, but Lieb at Law, P.C. has helped countless individuals recover compensatory damages and punitive damages for the pain inflicted by this unlawful act. Workplace discrimination is a violation of your rights and should never be tolerated.


How long do I have to sue for workplace discrimination?


Typically, federal law requires that you make a filing within 300 days of the discrimination (this may be cut down to 180 days based on your state’s laws, or even to 3 months if you work in education in places like New York).  However, certain state law claims can be brought up to 3 years after the incident. So, you should call right away and let us determine if you still have time to bring your case. 


What can I recover if I sue for workplace discrimination?


Employment discrimination claims can result in very high awards because they are designed to compensate victims for lost back-pay, lost front-pay, and experiencing emotional distress / loss of dignity. Additionally, the law provides that victims can recover other forms of compensatory damages, punitive damages, and their attorneys’ fees. In fact, the perpetrator can lose their license (if licensed), be required to take trainings, and be ordered to stop their offensive behavior. There are fines and more. However, we are ethically required to advise you that our prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. So, you should contact us today and get a tailored evaluation of your specific situation.

 *Attorney Advertising

Monday, October 25, 2021

New Whistleblower Protection in NYS Coming Soon - Independent Contractors are Covered (think, Real Estate Salespersons)

Effective January 26, 2022, A5144 will cause NYS private employees / independent contractors to have expanded whistleblower protection, under amended Labor Law 740, if they disclose or threaten to disclose, to a supervisor or to a public body, an activity, policy or practice of the employer, that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of law, rule or regulation or that the employee reasonably believes poses a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety. 

This expanded protection is not only for employees, but also for former employees and independent contractors. With independent contractor protection, real estate brokers should be on the lookout for their agents lodging complaints to the Department of State, amongst other bodies. It's therefore time for every private business in NYS to button-up its compliance protocol and avoid whistleblowers because silencing them is no longer possible. Beyond tightening up their policy manuals, employers will be required to post signage about this new law at their places of employment.

This law is huge for employee / independent contractor rights and it's going to get messy quickly with lots of lawsuits to follow in the near term. Think about how many times an employer previously leverages its position to blackball a whistleblower from the industry. Now, actionable retaliation includes adversely impacting a whistleblower's future employment. 

This is huge, just watch the news and you will know how many whistleblowers are out there. Think about what's going on with Facebook. What about the Alec Baldwin shooting? Maybe, if New Mexico's law was as broad and protective as this new New York law, the Baldwin shooting / gun mishap wouldn't have happened. Yes, the film crew voiced complaints, but their position was limited. In New Mexico, an employee may not be discharged (or discriminated against) in retaliation for filing a complaint, instituting a proceeding, testifying in a proceeding, or exercising a right concerning violations of occupational health and safety standards. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 50-9-25. However, there is no private right of action (besides common law) and only the possibility of reinstatement and back pay if the secretary of environment chooses to pursue a retaliation claim. In contrast, a New York employee is now protected if they "reasonably believes [the employer's wrong] poses a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety" and that employee can sue in their own name within 2-years of the retaliation while seeking back pay, front pay, a civil penalty, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees. 

This law will launch a new era of compliance throughout New York industry. Is your business ready? 

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Are Your Staff Employees or Independent Contractors? A New Regulation Answers The Question

During the last two weeks of his Presidency, Trump's Department of Labor just revised the test for whether an individual is an independent contractor or employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

This is significant because employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime whereas independent contractors are not. 

If an employer misclassifies a staff member as an independent contractor when such staff member should be classified an employee, it can result in a devastating blow to the employer who will be exposed to statutory penalties, back pay, attorneys' fees and more. 

Now, Trump's government is using the "economic reality" test to determine employee status. 

According to the government, "the ultimate inquiry is whether, as a matter of economic reality, the worker is dependent on a particular individual, business, or organization for work (and is thus and employee) or is in business for him- or herself (and is thus an an independent contractor)." 

Under this test, the Department of Labor or a Court hearing the case will look to five distinct factors to answer the test. However, two of those factors now have more probative value in answering the question than the rest. These two key factors are:

  1. The nature and degree of the worker's control over the work; and
  2. The worker's opportunity for profit or loss. 

The other factors, of less importance, are:
  1. The amount of skill required for the work;
  2. The degree of permanence of the working relationship between the individual and the potential employer; and 
  3. Whether the work is a part of an integrated unit of production.
Regardless, employers better take note of this change and analyze their staff's true work to ascertain if they are classified properly. If this is too much, you better hire a consultant to do the job NOW.

Here's a question

While the government argued in support of this new test by pointing to the need for clarity for business, is this the time to tax companies with new rules in the middle of a pandemic where small businesses are closing every day? 

More so, with a change in the Presidency less than two weeks away, will Biden just change this back next month? 

This new regulation isn't effective until March 8, 2021, so Biden could theoretically undo it before it even takes off. 

Should he? 

Monday, January 20, 2020

New Law: Independent Contractors in NYC are Protected Against Discrimination and Must be Trained

Effective January 11, 2020, independent contractors in New York City are protected from discrimination or harassment in the workplace and can sue under the New York City Human Rights Law (New York State Human Rights Law already protects independent contractors). In addition, independent contractors in NYC now have a right to request and receive a reasonable accommodation related to their disability, religious observance, etc.

Because independent contractors are protected under the New York City Human Rights Law, companies in NYC with 15 or more employees are now required to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to independent contractors (It was previously encouraged). Companies must modify their policies and training materials/procedures accordingly. Training under the NYC Human Rights Law must be completed by April 1, 2020.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Employers & Business Owners with Independent Contractors - Learn What to do with a Payroll Audit

Andrew Lieb, Esq. and Mordy Yankovich Esq. explain the line between an independent contractor and an employee and what happens when you get it wrong. Employers, learn when to get an Attorney involved when facing a payroll audit. Advising a CPA is just not enough. Learn your exposure.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

NEW LAW: New York City Brokers are Required to Provide Sexual Harassment Trainings to Independent Contractors

All real estate salespersons in NYC, which includes Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx, must receive sexual harassment training if there are more than fifteen (15) employees/independent contractors in the brokerage.

The NYC Commission on Human Rights recently released guidance on the "Stop Sexual Harassment Act" which requires employers to provide sexual harassment training to its employees on an annual basis.  

Of particular importance to real estate brokers, the guidance clarifies that the law requires all employers with fifteen (15) or more employees (which includes independent contractors) to provide training to all independent contractors who have performed work for the employer for more than 90 days or 80 hours in a calendar year. All brokers who have more than 15 employees/independent contractors must ensure they are compliant with the new law which takes effect on April 1, 2019.

Brokers should visit - - to get your agents trained today.