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Colt & Joe Trucking v. U.S. Department of Labor

Representing the family-owned business Colt & Joe Trucking, NCLA challenges the Labor Department’s vague January 2024 rule governing whether a company-hired worker can be classified as an independent contractor instead of an employee subject to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) wage and hour requirements.

The Department previously maintained a 2021 rule that generally allowed businesses to classify workers as independent contractors if they exercised independent judgment and control over their work and could profit as a result. Overthrowing this simple standard for no good reason, the new rule unlawfully broadens FLSA’s definition of “employee” to effectively cover anyone performing services for another company under essentially whatever circumstance that the Department wants. This leaves companies like the family-owned Colt & Joe Trucking completely unable to hire independent contractors without risking FLSA liability. To make matters worse, the new rule allows companies like Colt & Joe Trucking to be retroactively punished for making worker classification decisions based on the old definition.

The Labor Department says it abandoned the old standard for classifying independent contractors because it conflicted with judicial precedent, an arbitrary and capricious claim. No precedent prohibits focusing on control and opportunity as the most probative factors in determining whether a worker is in business for himself. Even if all these problems were not fatal, Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su lacked authority to promulgate the new rule in the first place, having claimed Secretarial powers for over a year without Senate confirmation in violation of the Appointments Clause.

Sheng Li
Litigation Counsel
John J. Vecchione
Senior Litigation Counsel
NCLA FILINGS

Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive, and Other Relief and Jury Demand

April 25, 2024 | Read More

PRESS RELEASES

NCLA Lawsuit Seeks to Set Aside the Department of Labor’s Unlawful New Independent Contractor Rule

April 26, 2024 | Read More

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