In Case You Missed It: The Recorder: "Gig Companies' Lawyers 'Welcome' New US Labor Opinion Letter"

By Cheryl Miller: Based in Sacramento, Miller covers state politics and legal policy.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor issued a business-friendly opinion Monday for the gig economy industry, telling one unidentified “virtual marketplace” employer that its workers are properly classified as independent contractors, not employees.

In a 10-page opinion letter dated April 29, Keith Sonderling, the acting administrator of the Labor Department’s wage and hour division, tells the representative of an unnamed online platform that based on a six-factor test, “we conclude that your client’s service providers are independent contractors, not employees of your client.”

“The facts in your letter demonstrate economic independence, rather than economic dependence, in the working relationship between your client and its service providers,” Sonderling wrote.

… California lawmakers are also considering legislation that would codify the California Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, which created a much more expansive test of what constitutes an employee.  

… A Fisher & Phillips analysis posted Monday afternoon by partner Richard Meneghello in Portland, Oregon, said the opinion letter is no “magic bullet” but still marked a “welcome” development for employers “and a preview as to how today’s USDOL will treat misclassification concerns that fall into their laps from gig economy (and other) businesses.”  ….

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