First the Department of Labor’s efforts to increase enforcement of worker classification rules threatened to make life more miserable for employers — now this.
Congress is considering the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act (EMPA) — and if it passes it could make things even harder on employers by adding administrative headaches, paperwork and penalties.
The legislation, introduced by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), hopes to reduce the amount of misclassified workers by:
- requiring employers to provide each of their workers with a written notice that defines their classification.
- increasing penalties on employers that misclassify their employees and are found to have violated employees’ OT or minimum wage rights. The proposed penalties would be up to $1,000 per employee for first-time violators and up to $5,000 for repeat violations.
- ensuring employers keep records that reflect the accurate status of each worker.
- creating an “employee rights Web site” that would inform workers about their federal and state wage and hour rights and help them determine when an employer is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It would even include a link to file a complaint with the DOL.
- providing additional protections to workers who are discriminated against because they have sought to be accurately classified.
- mandating that states conduct audits to identify employers who misclassify workers.
- requiring that DOL monitor states’ efforts to identify misclassification.
We’ll keep you posted as the bill moves through both houses.