California Representative Lynn Woosley (D-CA) recently re-introduced the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act (EMPA) of 2011, (H.R. 3178) as our Carson, California employment lawyers blog discussed in a related labor and employment law post.
Last year, Representative Woosley was a co-sponsor of the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act of 2010 (H.R. 5107), and this new bill includes all of the original provisions of the 2010 EMPA, in order to put a stop to the employee misclassification epidemic --an illegal practice that keeps employees from their lawful right to minimum wages, overtime compensation and other important employee benefits, and deprives state and federal governments of unemployment insurance contributions, workers compensation premiums and other employment taxes.
Representative Woosley introduced the new EMPA with New Jersey Representative Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and California Representative George Miller (D-CA), to ensure that workers receive basic employment protections, and in order to help this country pay down the national debt--as Woosley claims this bill will help empower U.S. employees and invigorate the national economy.
Under the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act of 2011:
• Employers will be responsible for keeping proper and accurate records that clearly reflect each worker's status as an employee or independent contractor--with clarification that employee misclassification, whether willfully or unknowingly, violates the Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA).
• Penalties will be increased against employers who knowingly or unknowingly misclassify their employees and are found to be guilty of minimum wage and overtime rights violations.
• Employers will be required to inform their workers about their employee or independent contractor classification status, creating a website dedicated to employee rights aimed to educate workers about their state and federal wage and hour rights, and inform the workers to contact to the DOL if they have any questions about possible classification issues.
• The EMPA will provide workers who seek accurate classification with protection--if they experience discrimination after reporting employment misclassification.
• The act will require that states conduct regular investigations to identify employers who engage in worker misclassification, and require the U.S. Department of Labor to monitor the efforts of states to target and identify employee misclassification.
• The EMPA of 2011 will also direct states to strengthen their own employee misclassification penalties.
• The act will also permit the DOL and the IRS to refer incidents of employee misclassification to each other.