MAIN NEWSLETTER SIGN UP

US Chamber of Commerce Joins Lawsuit Against Independent Contractor Rule

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has joined a lawsuit challenging the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new independent contractor rule.

Filed Tuesday (March 5), the lawsuit focuses on the DOL’s new test for classifying employees and independent contractors, the Chamber said in a Tuesday press release.

The new test will cause confusion among businesses about whether they have properly classified their workers, the group said in the release. Compared to the previous rule, the new one includes a “more indeterminate” test, it said.

The rule also threatens the independent contractor model, which allows companies to scale up or down and lets workers have flexibility and control over their work activities, the group added.

“The Department of Labor’s rule would deprive millions of Americans the freedom to choose to work as an independent contractor,” Marc Freedman, vice president of the Chamber’s Employment Policy Division, said in the release. “Individuals work as independent contractors for all kinds of reasons, including greater work-life balance, the ability to choose when and how to work, and the opportunity to be one’s own boss.”

Together with the Chamber, there are seven other co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including the Coalition for Workforce Innovation, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Retail Federation, according to the release.

The DOL’s new rule takes effect March 11, Reuters reported Tuesday.

By making it more difficult to classify some workers as independent contractors, the new rule is expected to impact many industries, including app-based services that rely on gig workers, according to the report. The rule is also being challenged by freelance writers and by a trucking company.

The DOL has said that the new rule is designed to clarify worker classification standards and crack down on abuses, the report said.

Uber said in January that as the new rule is implemented, the company will work with the Biden administration and make the views of the gig workers using its platform known.

“Drivers across the country have made it overwhelmingly clear — in their comments on this rule and in survey after survey — that they do not want to lose the unique independence they enjoy,” Uber said in a Jan. 9 statement.