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On September 3, 2013, Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ), published an article that reported 25%-30% of the workers for the top 250 Motor Carriers are Independent Contractors.

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It’s My Business Hits New Mexico

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On August 19, 2013, the Albuquerque Journal published an article regarding the coalition, It’s My Business, which was started to protect and defend the rights of Independent Contractors because they have chosen a work lifestyle that works for them.

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On August 19, 2013, the Business Review Weekly published an article about a company in New South Wales (NSW) Australia that improperly classified its’ workers as Independent Contractors instead of employees.

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On August 18, 2013, the Sacramento Bee released an article announcing a workshop offered by the California Employment Development Department to understand the difference between Employees and Independent Contractors.

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Prime Names Owner-Operators of the Year

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On August 16, 2013, Overdriveonline.com published an article about Prime, Inc., headquartered in Springfield, MO, naming an owner-operator, in three different divisions, as driver of the year for the services they provided in 2012.

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It’s My Business Hits Colorado

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On August 22, 2013, the Denver Post published an article by Blanche Lincoln, chairwoman for the coalition It’s My Business and former US Senator from Arkansas, that addressed the aggressive attacks by the State of Colorado on companies that use the services of Independent Contractors.

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On August 16, 2013, the Central Penn Business Journal released an article about the Independent Contractor Coalition, It’s My Business, taking a stance against a House Bill targeting misclassification in Trucking.

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The US Department of Labor Strikes in Ohio

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On August 15, 2013, the Us Department of Labor, Wage and Hour division, published a press release stating Midwest Lodging in Ohio agreed to pay 67 workers a total of $47,654 in back wages following and investigation by the department.

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The IRS Targets Small Business

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On August 14, 2013, Bloomberg BusinessWeek published an article about the IRS cracking down on small businesses and that they are more likely to be audited than their larger counterparts.

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On August 15, 2013, the Texas GOP Vote published an article stating that a coalition against the misclassification of workers has asked the City of Houston, TX to pass an ordinance to crack down on unethical companies who cheat employees out of wages.

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On August 9, 2013, the Wall Street Journal Market Watch published an article stating that OnTrac was expanding their Commerce, CA operation by adding 75 Independent Owner-Operator service providers.

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On July 18, 2013, the China Briefing posted an article titled, Independent Contractors in China and Available Alternative Options, which describes some of the differences between an employee and an Independent Contractor relationship.

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On July 24, 2013, the Texas Court of Appeals Eighth District of Texas El Paso, Texas affirmed the Trial Courts decision to hold PanAmerican Operating, Inc. (Defendant) responsible for the actions of an Independent Contractor they hired to negotiate contracts on their behalf.

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On July 23, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) signed two Bills into law (House Bill 2649 & House Bill 923) that will affect the Employee Classification Act under the Wage and Hour section of the Employment Statutes.

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It’s My Business Hits Maine

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On August 2, 2013, the Chairwoman of It’s My Business, Former Senator Blanche Lincoln (Lincoln), released an article in the Kennebec Journal talking about how the use of Independent Contractors affects the State of Maine.

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In June 2013, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (WADOLI) published a guide to help companies understand how and when the WADOLI applies workers compensation laws to Independent Contractors.

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On July 29, 2013, CTPost.com published an article about the Town of Trumbull, CT and their struggle with the classification (employee or Independent Contractor) of a worker who has agreements with the school system to oversee construction and hire subcontractors.

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On July 22, 2013, TruckingInfo.com released an article applauding Robert Phillips of Cleburne, TX for being recognized by the Truckload Carrier Association (TCA) as a Highway Angel.

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It’s My Business Reaches Alaska

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On July 25, 2013, the Alaska Journal of Commerce published a guest commentary by Blanche Lincoln, the former Arkansas Senator and Chairwoman for It’s My Business (www.itsmybusiness.com) which summarized the strong influence that the Independent Contractor community has on this country.

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On June 16, 2013, Senate Bill 5867, titled Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act, was introduced into the New York State Senate and then passed through both the Senate and Assembly on June 21, 2013. The Bill went from the General Assembly to the Governors Office after passing both chambers of the General Assembly but has not yet been signed by the Governor.

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On July 21, 2013, AshlandWI.com published an article stating that the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association (http://timberpa.com), located in Rhinelander, WI, has joined the coalition standing up for Independent Contractors’ rights – It’s My Business (www.itsmybusiness.com).

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On July 16, 2013, the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a hearing at the Cary Memorial Building in Lexington, MA. Wicked Local reported the hearing was chaired by the committee Senior Vice Chairman, State Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington), and the topic of discussion was the current Independent Contractor Law in Massachusetts.

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On June 12, 2013, the Appeal Court of California, Second Appellate District, Division Three, issued a decision that affirmed Erin Beaumont-Jacques (Plaintiff and Appellant) was an Independent Contractor and not an employee of Farmers Group, Inc. (Defendant and Respondent).

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On July 3, 2013, Judge Richard G. Stearns, a United States District Judge, granted Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment against FedEx Ground Package Systems solely on a misclassification claim under the Independent Contractor Statute (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148B).

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On June 11, 2013, New Jobs for Massachusetts (http://www.newmassjobs.com/Home.html), a public policy advocate for rapid growth in private sector employment in Massachusetts, released a report on the effects of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Laws on the State’s economy.

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On June 24, 2013, Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut signed House Bill 6151, titled An Act Concerning Certain Motor Vehicles and Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits into law.

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The Rhode Island Senate introduced a Bill (SB 368) on February 13, 2013 that proposes to amend current laws related to the process of determining workers status for Wage and Hour purposes.

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On June14, 2013, Texas Governor, Rick Perry, signed House Bill 2015 into law. The Bill was entitled “An Act Relating to the Proper Classification of Workers Performing Services Under Certain Governmental Contracts; Providing a Penalty”.

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The IRS Releases a New Form 1099-MISC

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In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published a new Form 1099-MISC for each person whom a company has paid Miscellaneous Income.

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On June 30, 2013, the Belleville News Democrat www.bnd.com) published an article about the controversy over the classification of four city attorneys in Belleville, Illinois.

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On June 26, 2013, the Young, Fabulous and Self-Employed (YFS) published an article that offered 7 tips to help Independent Contractors grow their small businesses by meeting the needs of their larger clients.

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On June 29, 2013, the Topeka Capitol-Journal (www.cjonline.com) published an article stating several Kansas based groups joined the coalition speaking up for Independent Contractors rights to run small businesses, It’s My Business (www.itsmybusiness.com).

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On Jun 29, 2013, Sherdog.com published an article that announced a recent decision by The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to release fighters because they currently have too many to promote.

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On June 21, 2013, the New York State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5867 which is titled New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act.

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On June 7, 2013, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the US District Court, Northern District of California, granted Plaintiffs motion for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Conditional Certification of a Collective Action against Velocity Express, LLC (Velocity).

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On June 22, 2013, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported on the State Department of Labor and their, off the record, support of the US Department of Labors’ pursuit of employee misclassification.

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On April 16, 2013, A US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division granted Plaintiff, Horace Lee, Deshon Taylor and all other similarly situated a Conditional Class Certification.

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On June 18, 2013, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed House Bill 6433. The Bill, among many other things, amended language surrounding the joint enforcement commission on employee misclassification.

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On April 17, 2013, Judge Susan Webber Wright, a United States District Judge, denied two motions made by Plaintiffs in the Eastern District Court of Arkansas, Western Division:
1. Motion For Conditional Certification of a Collective Action
2. Motion for Equitable Tolling

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On June 18, 2013, U-T San Diego released an article stating a California Superior Court Judge ruled they were responsible for the misclassification of 1,285 newspaper delivery carriers and ordered to pay $3.18 Million. The amount ordered includes expenses that should have been reimbursed if the workers were properly classified as employees.

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On June 3, 2013, the US Department of Labor (USDOL) issued a press release stating that a Georgia based company with contracted workers in Murfreesboro, misclassified 23 people as Independent Contractors and paid a fine of $33,535 for back wages.

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Governor Jack Markell signed Delaware House Bill 55 on June 6, 2013 protecting franchisees from employee classification.

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The Casper Star-Tribune reported on June 12, 2013 that a panel of lawmakers ordered a draft Misclassification Bill to be introduced at the Wyoming’s Interim Committee meeting in August.

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On June 3, 2013, the Huffington Post published an article about a new coalition formed to give Independent Contractors who support the entrepreneurial way of life a voice. The name of the new coalition is, It’s My Business and the chair is the former Arkansas Senator, Blanche Lincoln (D).

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On June 10, 2013, the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) Wage and Hour Division, issued a press release that states a Texas Construction Company, Ratech Construction, Inc. paid $176,204 for 17 workers that were improperly classified as Independent Contractors.

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On June 12, 2013, the New York State Assembly Committee on Labor passed Bill 5237 titled “Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act” to the Committee on Codes.

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On June 3, 2013, The US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, issued a press release stating it found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime provision at Honghua America’s equipment manufacturing facility in Houston. The company paid $687,469 in overtime back wages to 133 roughnecks and crane operators.

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On May 16, 2013, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed SB0833 which allows the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) to impose penalties on construction companies that misclassify workers in order to avoid workers compensation policy premiums.

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On June 1, 2013, The News Tribune of Tacoma, WA reported that the City of DuPont, WA misclassified three of its workers as Independent Contractors (Fire Chief, Police Chief and Museum Coordinator) and is responsible for repaying $600,000 to the State Department of Retirement.

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On June 1, 2013, Savannahnow.com posted an article about a “Stand up for Savannah Forum” that took place at the Coastal Georgia Center which was sponsored by Georgia Local 728 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and included some 300 independent truckers who service the Savannah Ports.

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On May 10, 2013, Cincinnati.com reported, “a Walton company has agreed to pay employees more than $1 million in back wages and damages after a reaching a consent judgment in federal court”.

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On May 13, 2013, the President of the New York State AFL-CIO, Mario Cilento, stated the misclassification of workers is more than a labor issue.

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On May 21, 2013, the US Department of Labor (USDOL) issued a press release that a Houston based employer, United Towing & Transport Inc, has paid $157,362 after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions at its Houston locations.

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On May 16, 2013, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed HB6151 with 134 Yea’s and 0 Nay’s. The Bill is titled “An Act Concerning Certain Operators of Motor Vehicles and Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits” and offers a special “carve out” for vehicles in excess of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

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On May 15, 2013 the Los Angeles Times reported that two truck drivers had filed suit against a Southern California Trucking company, Harbor Express, Inc., and are seeking class certification claiming that hundreds of workers were improperly classified as Independent Contractors.

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On May 20, 2013, the New Jersey General Assembly passed Bill A1578 titled Truck Operator Independent Contractor Act with a vote of 43-30-5. The Bill targets drayage and small package truck operators.

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On May 9, 2013, California Senate Bill SB556 was amended but still increases liability to companies who use the services of Independent Contractors.

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On May 8, 2013, a Canadian publication, (Brantfordexpositor.ca) posted an article which spoke to Canadian construction contractors’ responses to the recent requirement making it mandatory for them to purchase the Ontario equivalent of Workers Compensation insurance (WSIB).

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Truckinginfo.com recently published an article about five trends affecting Owner Operators today.

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One of the biggest threats against companies that use the services of Independent Contractors today is a class action lawsuit for wage and hour claims. The political climate has set the tone for workers to claim a company has violated wage and hour laws by misclassifying them as Independent Contractors instead of employees.

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On April 29, 2013, New Jersey Assembly Bill A1578 named “Truck Operator Independent Contractor Act” went before the general assembly and was voted down.

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The New York State legislature has two Bills in front of it, S04589 & A05237, titled “New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Fair Play Act” which address the misclassification of workers as Independent Contractors instead of employees.

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The fiscal year 2014 budget of the United States Government includes increased spending for the enforcement of misclassification. The Budget specifically addresses funding to the Department of Labor with two areas that are targeted at the country’s use of Independent Contractors.

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On April 22, 2013 the US Department of Labor (USDOL) issued a press release stating:

“Freeman & Associates Contracting Corp. of Raleigh has agreed to pay $20,088 in back wages to four construction employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found employees were misclassified as independent contractors and, consequently, were denied overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

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On March 19, 2013, the US Department of Labor (USDOL) issued a press release stating:

“H&W Printing Inc. in Marietta, Ga., pays more than $39,000 in back wages and penalties following US Department of Labor investigation. Employer misclassified employees as independent contractors during probationary period, denied overtime.”

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The Massachusetts Delivery Association (MDA) presented its oral arguments for Summary Judgment on their case against the Attorney General (MDA v Martha Coakley) on April 10, 2013.

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On February 11, 2013, Judge Ted Stewart of the United States Court for the District of Utah Central Division ruled, in part, for the Plaintiff [Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Inc. (OOIDA)] and, in part, for the Defendant [C.R. England (CRE)]. This case was filed in 2002 by OOIDA, on behalf of its members, on the basis that CRE mishandled “set-offs” to their settlements.

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On April 11, 2013, Judge George J. Limbert, in the United States District Court Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division, determined Plaintiff Sondra Zents (Zents) to be properly classified as an Independent Contractor by Defendant Baylor Trucking Company (Baylor).

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On February 4, 2013, the California Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) determined an Independent Contractor driver to be an employee of the company to which she provided services.

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The United States District Court Southern District of Texas Houston Division and United States District Court Southern District of Texas Victoria Division decide differently on the classification of Independent Contractors in two separate cases. One of the Judges in the Houston Division determined a worker who was classified as an Independent Contractor in the technology field to be an employee. However, a Judge in the Victoria Division determined a worker who was classified as an Independent Contractor in the security field to be proper.

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The California Court of Appeals reversed a decision made by the lower courts which compelled arbitration in a wage and hour class action case filed by an employee.

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On April 3, 2013, Judge Gerald Bruce Lee granted a Motion for Summary Judgment determining that Section 148B (the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law) is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Act of 1994 (FAAAA).

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On April 1, 2013, a group of Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Class Certification on FedEx Ground for misclassifying them as Independent Contractors under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 149, § 148B (the Independent Contractor Law).

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On February 20, 2013, the US Department of Labor (USDOL) issued a press release stating they found a Florida based company’s, Albuquerque office, had misclassified six of its workers.

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On March 12, 2013 Morgan Lewis, a law firm founded in 1873, with more than 1,600 legal professionals—including lawyers, patent agents, benefits advisers, regulatory scientists, and other specialists—in 24 offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia, filed submitted comments on the Independent Contractor Misclassification Survey (Survey) proposed by the USDOL.

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On March 26, 2013, the Connecticut Department of Labor Communications Office distributed a media release that stated: “The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Wage and Workplace Standards issued Stop Work orders to 27 companies working at construction project sites in Stamford during the period of January 9 to March 14”.

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Texas Introduces a Worker Classification Bill

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On February 20, 2013, Senator John J. Carona (R) introduced Senate Bill 676 entitled an act relating to the classification of certain construction workers and the eligibility of those workers for unemployment benefits; providing penalties.

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On February 7, 2013, the Committee on Commerce, Labor, and Energy introduced two Senate Bills that address Employee Misclassification:
Senate Bill 95 and Senate Bill 96

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Michigan Introduces a Misclassification Bill

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On January 16, 2013, Michigan Senate Majority Leader, Randy Richardville, introduced Senate Bill 1 which can be cited as the “employee classification act”.

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The United States is not alone in its attack on the Independent Contractor Model. The Province of Ontario is now requiring that Independent Operators, in the Construction industry, purchase WSIB Insurance (Ontario’s version of Workers Compensation) from the Province.

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Massachusetts Representative, Joseph F. Wagner, drafts House Bill 3198 in conjunction with the Massachusetts Motor Truck Association (MMTA). The draft Bill will modify the current General Law at Chapter 149, Section 148B. The draft Bill recommends a change to the modified ABC Test by adding a 7 point test that is specific to the Trucking and messenger/courier industries.

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There are three Bills in the Arizona House of Representatives addressing erroneous payments made by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (ADES). On Tuesday, February 5th 2013, Representative Tom Forese introduced HB2279 to the Committee for Retirement and Insurance in the House of Representatives. During the hearing, Representative Forese stated “the definition of an Independent Contractor needs to be more clearly defined, in general, in Arizona. The ADES is liberally interpreting the law to give workers who are Independent Contractors access to “employee” benefits such as unemployment compensation,” claims Representative Forese.

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The Mississippi Department of Employment Security, (MDES) has increased misclassification awareness by adding information about the topic to their website. The information addresses the definition of an “employee” and the facts that need to be considered when classifying a worker.

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Governor Bill Haslam drafts proposed workers compensation reform measures. The Tennessean reports, “…a 67-page working draft obtained by The Tennessean indicates Haslam is considering major changes to the 94-year-old system, which was last overhauled nearly a decade ago.”

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On January 25, 2013, a federal appeals court three-judge panel rules that President Obama abused his powers when appointing three members to the National Labor and Relations Board (NLRB) during a Senate “recess”.

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The Oregon Employment Department Tax Section investigates the relationship between Compressed Pattern, LLC (Petitioner), an architect design company, and Jason Singer (Jason) claiming the Petitioner did not pay the appropriate taxes on wages paid to Jason.
In this case, Jason provided services to the Petitioner but was ruled to be an employee by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at a hearing. Therefore, the Petitioner brought the matter to the Court of Appeals for a judicial review.

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Several representatives in Washington State have introduced House Bill 1440 (HB 1440). The Bill is targeted at the misclassification of employees as Independent Contractors.

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The Louisiana Court of Appeals agrees that Jason Courtney (Courtney) is an employee for workers compensation purposes. In the case, Jason Courtney v. Fletcher Trucking, the Office of Workers Compensation (OWC) determined that Courtney did not meet the Independent Contractor exemption for the trucking industry.

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Senator Puckett offered Senate Bill 879 on January 9, 2013. The Bill would amend section 2.2-205.2 of the Virginia Code by establishing an Employee Misclassification Task Force.

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The Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Workers Compensation Commission Division recently issued two decisions on the status of Independent Contractors. In both cases the Appellate Courts were asked to decide whether a worker was an Independent Contractor or an employee for purposes of workers compensation benefits. The facts in both matters were very different and so were the decisions.

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On January 17, 2013, Iowa became the 14th State to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US Department of Labor (USDOL). The partnership allows the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and the US DOL agencies to share information about companies that misclassify their workers.

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The US Department of Labor (US DOL), Wage and Hour Division has proposed an Information Collection Request (ICR) for a survey addressing workers understanding of misclassification. The request can be viewed on the Federal Registry website.

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Companies push for employee misclassification legislation in the state of Texas.

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Missouri Increases Misclassification Efforts

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The Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (MO DOL) increases their efforts to educate employers and workers on misclassification. The MO DOL has added information to their website that asks the question: “Are you OFF THE BOOKS?” and launched Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages that also address misclassification.

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Effective January 1, 2013, Michigan adopts a 20 Factor test to determine independent contractor status for workers’ compensation purposes.

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NEW INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR LAW IN MAINE

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Effective December 31, 2012, Maine replaces the old definition of an independent contractor under the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Maine Department of Labor with a unified approach and a new definition.

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Membership in local chapter of national organization expands CMS’ reach within small business community

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Opinion: Independent Contractors Under Fire

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Transportation companies with independent contractor relationships should brace themselves for potential misclassification challenges from multiple fronts.

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Governor Lynch’s Executive Order #2101-3 of September 3, 2010, established the Joint Agency Task Force on Employee Misclassification Enforcement.

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On remand from the Ninth Circuit, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California issued its decision on August 27, 2012, holding Affinity Logistics Corporation (“Affinity”), a motor carrier, carried its burden of establishing it properly classified as independent contractors a certified class of former owner-operator delivery drivers (the “contractors”) under California law. Ruiz v. Affinity Logistics Corp., No. 05CV2125, slip op. at 21 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 27, 2012).

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North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue may be overseeing the most anti-union, “Right-to-Work” state in the nation, but that didn’t stop her from issuing Executive Order 125 last week, thus creating a task force to combat the state’s problem with employee misclassification.

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Gov. Bev Perdue today issued Executive Order 125 establishing a task force on employee misclassification.

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