A new ruling issued by the National Labor Relations Board may help employers avoid legal action on the part of independent contractors who say they are being deprived of particular benefits.
The ruling, according to analysts, is particularly significant for the construction industry because of the large number of such contractors who work in the business.
The board ruling came about as a result of a case involving the Velox Express company which, in its ongoing relations with independent contractors, was charged with violating the National Labor Relations Act by misclassifying those contractors as employees.
That act, signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935, is designed to protect both employee and employer rights, while also allowing workers to form unions.
In reviewing the Velox case, members of the NLRB determined that it did not represent a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
In making that determination, the board gives more leeway to employers when it comes to defining who is and who isn’t an employee—and more importantly, who is eligible for company benefits.
The ruling, notes labor attorney D. Albert Brannen, “demonstrates a more reasonable approach by the labor board. It’s more employer-friendly.”
Interviewed by the website Construction Dive, Brannen nevertheless added that the ruling also means that employers need to take extra steps to clarify their relationships with independent contracts.
Said the website Labor Relations Update: “Now, as long as employers no not subsequently retaliate or threaten misclassified workers, there is no liability under the National Labor Relations Act for alone incorrectly classifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees.”
By Garry Boulard
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