US Secretary of Labor Withdraws Guidance Regarding Independent Contractors

June 21, 2017
Tanya Salgado - White and Williams LLP

The United States Secretary of Labor has withdrawn an informal guidance regarding independent contractors issued in 2015. We reported on the 2015 Administrator’s Interpretation here. The 2015 Interpretation provided a detailed explanation of the economic realities test, which is used to determine whether a worker is to be classified as an independent contractor or an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

While the 2015 Interpretation did not change existing case law on independent contractor status, it was seen as sending a signal from the Department of Labor (DOL) regarding the agency’s focus. The DOL concluded the 2015 Interpretation with the statement, “most workers are employees under the FLSA’s broad definitions…” Just as the DOL’s 2015 Interpretation did not change existing case law, the DOL’s withdrawal of the Interpretation does not change the law in any way. The economic realities test remains the legal standard for determining independent contractor status under the FLSA.

Ms. Salgado may be contacted at


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