If you aren't certain your workers are properly classified as employees or independent contractors, you're not alone. Unfortunately, the Department of Labor is keeping an eye out for companies that classify workers as contractors when they are legally employees. This is because contractors aren't entitled to employer contributions to payroll taxes, provide workers' comp, unemployment insurance and other benefits. They are also exempt from a number of protective workplace laws.
When might one company be considered a "joint employer" with another company over the same workers? It's an important question, because joint employers share liability for labor law violations.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment against people 40 and older. When two firefighters from a small Arizona district sued for alleged age discrimination, however, the fire district claimed that the law only applied to organizations with at least 20 employees. The firefighters appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which has just ruled in their favor.
The Weinstein Co., which was co-founded by Harvey Weinstein, has filed for bankruptcy in Wilmington, Delaware. Dozens of women, at the least, may wish to sue the company for its alleged role in concealing sexual misconduct complaints against Harvey Weinstein. Filing for bankruptcy generally halts lawsuits against the bankrupt individual or company, putting them off until the proceedings are complete. In this case, however, the bankruptcy judge has ruled that the company will not be immune from litigation.
In what many consider a major victory for employers, the U.S. Supreme court has upheld the use of mandatory arbitration clauses or agreements in employment contracts. These clauses typically require employees to bring legal complaints singly in arbitration as opposed to in class action lawsuits.