DOL Trashes Obama-Era “Guidance”

By John Alan Doran

Wednesday the DOL announced that it was withdrawing two critical pieces of “guidance” issued under the Obama administration.  The first piece addressed the DOL’s rather narrow view of who is an independent contractor (S&H Blog Post: DOL Says Employers Are Morons). The second piece established an extremely broad view of joint employment (S&H Blog Post: Joint Employment Wage/Hour). Taken together, the guidance pieces made it much harder for employers to navigate through the gig economy.  The withdrawal of these guidance pieces obviously helps employers who use contractors or have potentially joint employer relationships.  But the DOL did not suggest what enforcement strategy it may follow in the absence of these guidances, so the impact in real-world terms remains to be seen.  Nonetheless, this provides some indication that our new Secretary of Labor is moving forward, at least in some respects, to reverse some of the prior administration’s approaches.