New federal law makes it easier to sue companies for misclassification

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Worker misclassification

The federal government recently implemented a new final rule for worker misclassification that might make it easier for truck drivers classified as contractors to sue the businesses that hire them. That means those who realize that they didn’t receive overtime wages or other basic employment rights might take legal action against the company that hired them as an independent contractor.

What is employee misclassification?

Employee misclassification occurs when a company has a worker fill out paperwork as though they were an independent contractor when they hire that professional. However, the business proceeds to treat that worker as though they are an employee. Supervisors micromanage what work they perform and rely on the driver to be available regularly rather than for one specific project.

The company could face allegations of misclassification if the worker gets hurt and realizes that they don’t qualify for workers’ compensation coverage. Those who lose their employment and realize that they don’t qualify for unemployment might also challenge their classification as independent contractors.

Could truckers claim that their employers misclassified them?

Considerations for such claims include whether the task the worker performed is integral to the business’s main functions, which could be a point of vulnerability for transportation companies hiring drivers as contractors. The duration of the agreement, the degree of risk and investment involved and how much control the driver has over their work can all also factor into what the courts might eventually decide.

Transportation companies may need to reevaluate some of their contracts to protect themselves from litigation. Staying informed about changing employment laws is as important as tracking changes to safety regulations when operating a business with valuable assets and multiple employees. Learn more about our experience in employment law. Contact us to discuss a plan.