Legal Dive quoted Lauren Teukolsky last week in an article discussing the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new independent contractor rule. The long-awaited rule was released on January 9th and replaces the DOL’s Trump-era guidance as to employee and independent contractor classification.
The issue of classification has become especially important over the past five to ten years as the American “gig economy” has taken off. With the rise of companies such as Uber and DoorDash, more employers are utilizing workforces that consist of independent contractors. From employers’ perspectives, the development is positive, as it allows them to avoid expenses associated with employees, such as worker’s comp insurance. For employees, however, failure by their employers to properly classify them as employees frequently means a denial of basic workplace rights such as minimum wage, overtime, and paid leave.
The DOL’s new rule seeks to reduce the risk that employees are misclassified as independent contractors by instituting provisions it believes are more consistent with judicial precedent than those previously put in place during the Trump administration. Legal Dive’s article begins with commentary from Ms. Teukolsky on how corporations may need to navigate the new rule, which is set to go into effect on March 11:
“’You need to assume that most of your workers are employees, unless it’s pretty clear that they’re not, and not the other way around,’ said Lauren Teukolsky, who represents workers at Teukolsky Law. ‘It’s definitely the safest course.’”
Ms. Teukolsky also commented that the Trump-era rule deviated from longstanding employment-law principles, and the DOL’s new rule represents a return to the well-established legal principles that existed for decades.
To read Legal Dive’s article in its entirety, click here. To learn more about Ms. Teukolsky and Teukolsky Law, click here.
Lauren Teukolsky expressed support for President Biden’s nominee for Labor Secretary, Julie Su, in a recent Law360 article exploring business groups’ opposition to the President’s pick.
Su was nominated to replace former Labor Department Secretary Marty Walsh, who left his post in March to take over as head of the National Hockey League (NHL) Players’ Association. Su served as Deputy Labor Secretary prior to Walsh’s departure and has worked as the acting secretary of the Labor Department since Walsh’s announcement.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Su is expected to continue the pro-union and pro-worker stance the department has taken since the start of the Biden administration, much to the distress of some business groups.
Business groups have cited Su’s backing of A.B. 5, a 2020 California bill that extended employee classification status to some gig workers, as one of the primary reasons for their opposition. In the Law360 article Ms. Teukolsky argues the business groups’ blame may be misplaced:
“‘The California Legislature passed A.B. 5,’ she said. ‘It's not like Julie Su single-handedly implemented the law.’”
Ms. Teukolsky, who worked with Su in the late 1990s on California's A.B. 633, which installed wage protections for garment workers, also had this to say on Su’s nomination:
“’I don't think there's any doubt that Julie Su is eminently qualified to be the next secretary of labor,’ Teukolsky said. ‘California has the fifth-largest economy in the world, so I think any criticism that Julie Su's policies or practices somehow undermine the strength of California's economy is absurd.’”
Ms. Teukolsky was previously asked to provide her thoughts on Su in a February Law360 article on her nomination. For that article, click here. For Law360’s recent article on Su’s nomination, click here.
Finally, if you’d like to get in touch with our office, click here.
Law360 quoted Lauren Teukolsky in a February 28 article on the recent nomination of Julie Su to be the next Secretary of Labor. Su has served as Deputy Labor Secretary since 2021, helping oversee the Department of Labor. Before that, Su was head of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency and was considered a Labor Secretary candidate, though President Biden ultimately nominated Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for the position. Walsh is leaving to head the National Hockey League’s players’ union.
Under Walsh, the Labor Department supported organized labor and workers through a series of regulatory and legislative actions. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Su is expected to continue the Department’s pro-union and pro-worker stance while also stepping up federal enforcement in the areas of worker classification, independent contractor status, and wage and hour issues. Su is President Biden’s first Asian American cabinet secretary.
Worker attorneys and workers’ advocates have voiced near unanimous support for Su’s nomination. Law360’s article reads as follows:
“Lauren Teukolsky of California-based Teukolsky Law said she has known Su since at least 1998, when Teukolsky was a law student and Su was litigation director of the group now known as Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California. At the time, the two of them worked on California's Assembly Bill 633, which implemented wage protections for garment workers.
‘Julie's idea was to extend liability for the wages beyond the contractor, beyond the direct employer, to bigger companies that were higher up the food chain, including garment manufacturers and even, in some instances, garment retailers,’ Teukolsky said.
‘It really demonstrates how she is able to think creatively about a labor enforcement problem in a way that other advocates haven't necessarily thought of before,’ Teukolsky said. ‘She just has this ability to problem-solve and use a mix of legislation, advocacy, court rulings, advocacy in the courtroom, just to use all of these different tools as problem-solver.’”
Teukolsky Law congratulates Julie Su on her historic nomination. To learn more, click here to read the Law360 article in its entirety.
Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.