For Immediate Release: June 9, 2017
Contact: Frank Moore - (202) 367-1254 
NLBMDA Applauds U.S. Department of Labor's Withdrawal of Interpretations for Joint Employment and Independent 
Contractor Classifications

[Washington, DC] - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced on Wednesday, June 7, the withdrawal of its 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors. Both interpretations represented moves during the Obama Administration to address what it perceived as abuses by employers using contractors or claiming contractor status to avoid certain employer responsibilities and instances where employers could unwittingly become liable under an expansive interpretation of joint employment.

NLBMDA President and CEO Jonathan Paine applauded the withdrawal decision as bringing greater clarity for employers who rely on independent contractor relationships and said, "This helps re-establish an environment where employers and independent contractors may partner in ways that create the most efficient and effective means to deliver goods and services to customers and consumers."

NLBMDA had previously developed guidance for its members in the wake of DOL's interpretation that did little to clarify for employers when and under what circumstances an employee may be considered misclassified as an independent contractor. One of the troubling elements of the interpretation was the department's attempt to interpret case law in a fashion to tilt its interpretation towards assuming a worker would more likely be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor.

"We hope these decisions by DOL will create a less antagonistic environment where businesses can focus on their core values to their customers with fewer distractions from burdensome rules and regulations," said Paine.

DOL's announcement makes clear however that "[r]emoval of the administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the department's long-standing regulations and case law." It also asserted that "[t]he department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction, including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act."

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) represents its members in the national public policy arena. Founded in 1917, the association represents over 6,000 member locations operating single or multiple lumber yards and component plants serving homebuilders, subcontractors, general contractors, and consumers in the new construction, repair and remodeling of residential and light commercial. .