On September 13, 2016, Oklahoma became the 35th state to enter into a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) to share information and conduct joint investigations regarding independent contractor misclassification. Oklahoma represents just the latest in a flurry of new participants in the U.S. DOL’s Misclassification Initiative, which was launched in 2010 under the auspices of Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force. Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and North Carolina have all entered into such partnerships since August 1st. David Weil, U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Administrator, in a recent press release, praised the collaborations as a “combination of a robust education and outreach, and nationwide, data-driven strategic enforcement across industries.”
As described in our August 22, 2016 and September 7, 2016 posts, the coordinated effort between enforcement agencies raises the stakes for companies that utilize independent contractors. Companies investigated by any one of the 35 participating state Departments of Labor can now expect those findings to be shared with the U.S. DOL, thereby increasing the likelihood of simultaneous, multi-agency investigations.