Jeffrey (Jeff) H. Ruzal, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in the Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, in “Punching In: OSHA Tarries with Its Heat Rule as Summer Looms,” by Rebecca Rainey and Bruce Rolfsen. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

Monday morning musings for workplace watchers. …

Rebecca Rainey: Business groups and labor unions have been holding their breath over what the Biden Labor Department will do on the issue of independent contractors—often used by gig companies to staff their fleets—now that issue firebrand David Weil is no longer in the running to lead DOL’s wage office. And the pressure on the agency to do something is growing.

Although the administration did try to rescind a Trump-era rule setting out a business-friendly independent contractor standard, a Texas court reinstated the measure in March. The current administration hasn’t appealed that ruling or issued new guidance but maintains that fighting misclassification “is and will remain a priority.”

Some suspect the administration was waiting for Weil to be confirmed by the Senate before making any major waves on employee classification. But since Weil withdrew his name from consideration after a failed Senate vote, what DOL will do now is unclear.

Management-side attorneys still expect the administration to move forward with an independent contractor rule that would make it harder to use such workers, even without Weil. …

Jeffrey Ruzal, who used to serve as a trial attorney in DOL’s solicitor’s office, also said he expects DOL “to double down” on its independent contractor enforcement and investigations in the wake of Weil’s withdrawal.

“There is legal precedent in the various circuits throughout the country interpreting independent contractor classification,” said Ruzal, now an attorney at Epstein Becker & Green P.C. “And so I do believe that one way or the other the DOL is going to remain ever focused on contractor classification.”

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