Massachusetts Atorney General Maura Healey held a press conference at the State House to highlight the LWP report “Confronting Misclassification and Payroll Fraud,” by Mark Erlich and Terri Gerstein. The report details the increasing role of state agencies in enforcing misclassification laws and providing worker protections, crucial in an era of lax federal enforcement.
Report details increasing role of state agencies in enforcing misclassification laws and providing worker protections, crucial in era of lax federal enforcement
by Mark Erlich and Terri Gerstein
BOSTON, MA – Researchers from the Harvard Labor & Worklife Program, a program of Harvard Law School, released on Wednesday a report detailing the expanding and increasingly inventive role of state-level agencies regarding enforcement of worker misclassification laws and upholding workers protections. The report, “Confronting Misclassification and Payroll Fraud: A Survey of State Labor Standards Enforcement Agencies” is published in the midst of a decades-long trend of employers increasingly misclassifying workers as independent contractors. More urgently, within the past two years, the federal government, through the United States Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board, has been increasingly rolling back worker protections and enforcement.
For the past 40 years, employers have pursued a strategy of shedding obligations to their employees as part of a broader outlook that views labor as one more risky liability to move off a balance sheet. For some, this has meant the purposeful misclassification of employees as independent contractors, a tactic adopted by Beldi’s disreputable construction contractors as well as more high-profile and celebrated firms such as FedEx and Uber.
By CASEY QUINLAN, Think Progress [Sharon] Block is also worried about whether there are enough resources at the agency. In addition to the proposed cuts and business-friendly approach of the administration, there is no OSHA chief. She states, “Based on their level of staffing and resources and everything else about their approach on worker protection issues, I’d be worried about how workers post-Harvey and post-Irma are going to be effective.”
By Leigh Buchanan, Editor-at-large, Inc. magazine "A congressional hearing Wednesday explored how the sharing economy must evolve to ensure fair wages and stability for workers....Yes, flexibility is desirable. But it is no substitute for security, said Sharon Block, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School."
Also reported in: "September 2017 Independent Contractor Misclassification and Compliance News Update: Legislative Initiatives: CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE HOLDS EXPLORATORY HEARING ON CHANGES TO LABOR AND TAX LAWS AFFECTING THE GIG ECONOMY" by Locke Lord LLP and Richard Reibstein October 10, 2017, JDSupra
LWP Executive Director Sharon Block addressed the 2017 Interstate Labor Standards Association in Little Rock, Arkansas on LWP’s new project on Payroll Fraud and the Underground Economy. Block previewed for ILSA members a survey that LWP fellows Terri Gerstein and Mark Erlich are developing to gain insights into new frontiers in misclassification and effective strategies for combatting it.