Friday, May 24, 2019

Much Ado About Little — Numerous Employment-Related Bills Stall Out in Minnesota Legislature

Although the recently completed 2019 regular session of the Minnesota Legislature included a significant number of bills on various employment-related topics, in the end, the Legislature passed very few such bills. The future fates of those bills are quite unclear at this time. As of the close of the regular legislative session, numerous employment-related bills were still active, in either one or both legislative bodies, touching on a variety of significant topics, including:
  • Paid leave (generally).
  • Medical leave.
  • Family leave.
  • Work shift scheduling requirements.
  • Wage theft protection.
  • Sexual harassment standard.
  • Statewide preemption on wage and benefits laws.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Independent Contractor vs. Employee — The Tug of War Continues

Two recent developments have occurred in the seemingly constant struggle regarding the classification of independent contractors versus employees. The developments are examples of two very divergent paths that are being taken by various governmental entities and administrations. Some are tightening the requirements for independent contractor status. Others, however, are creating a more business-friendly loosened standard.

On Monday, April 29, 2019, the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter (“Opinion Letter”) regarding the classification of independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This first opinion letter on the topic under the Trump administration is in stark contrast with the DOL guidance issued during the Obama administration (and later withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2017). The Obama era guidance took the position that most workers should be classified as employees under the FLSA, while the new Opinion Letter is more employer friendly.