June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017

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DOL Withdraws Joint Employer and Independent Contractor Administrator’s Interpretations

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced on June 7, 2017, the immediate withdrawal of two Wage and Hour Division Administrator’s Interpretations (“AIs”) on joint employment and independent contractor status issued by the Obama administration.

Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2016-01, issued in January 2016, addressed joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (“MSPA”) and Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1, issued in July 2015, addressed the definition of independent contractors under the FLSA. The AI regarding joint employment was viewed as an attempt to expand the definition of joint employment and the AI defining independent contractor status as narrowing those classified as independent contractors.

DOL made clear that removal of the two AIs “does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act or Migrant Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the Department’s long-standing regulations and case law.” But the withdrawal of these two AIs likely signals a policy shift in how DOL will interpret and seek to enforce matters relating to joint employment and independent contractor.

Acosta also signaled during his confirmation hearing that he may re-implement the agency’s practice of issuing opinion letters and, if this practice is reinstated, it is possible DOL may issue opinion letters further addressing joint employment and independent contractor issues.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2017


About this Author


Sarah Hook is an Associate in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice is focused on employment litigation and counseling.

Ms. Hook represents management in employment litigation in state and federal court and before administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, New York State Division of Human Rights, and New York City Commission on Human Rights. She has experience in handling wage and hour class and collective actions, employment discrimination, harassment,...

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