The United States Department of Labor announced that Rhode Island signed a memorandum of understanding to share information about misclassification of workers as independent contractors instead of employees. The announcement states:
Officials from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training signed a memorandum of understanding with the goal of protecting the rights of employees by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other nonemployee statuses. Under the agreement both agencies will share information and coordinate law enforcement.
Background: The MOU represents a new effort on the part of the agencies to work together to protect the rights of employees and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice of misclassification. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training is the latest state agency to partner with the U.S. Labor Department. Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming agencies have signed similar agreements. More information is available on the Department of Labor’s misclassification website at http://www.dol.gov/misclassification/….”
The announcement also reported statements from DOL and RI officials:
“Misclassification deprives workers of earned wages and undercuts law-abiding businesses. Combating misclassification is one of several important steps the U.S. Labor Department is taking to promote shared prosperity and ensure that our economy works for everyone.” — Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Secretary of Labor
“Working with the states is an important tool for ending misclassification and other workplace abuses. These collaborations allow us to better coordinate and ensure compliance with both federal and state laws alike.” — M. Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor of the U.S. Department of Labor
“The misclassification of employees as independent contractors is workplace fraud. Rhode Island will not allow bad actors to take advantage of their employees by failing to provide them with necessary workplace protections like Workers’ Compensation insurance, unemployment benefits and overtime pay. Allowing this activity to persist is unfair to Rhode Island businesses that play by the rules.” Scott Jensen, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training