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Ask Slashdot: Opinions on the State Breaking Its Own Law Against Employee Misclassification?

Jul 18

An anonymous reader writes: I’ve had the privilege of developing software as an independent contractor for various agencies of a particular state for many years. These past few, however, have seen changes: now I, and almost every other contractor I know, are being managed very differently. This state is now making a widespread practice of using the businesses it awards contracts to as staffing agencies, knowing full well that the people coming in are 1099s and receive none of the benefits or protections of regular employees. These contractors are expected to be on site full-time, are not allowed to use their own hardware or software, and are managed alongside, and perform substantially the same work as other, regular employees. This is apparently done to cut costs.

The State has no legal risk here — that rests solely on the businesses it awards contracts to. But given that this particular state takes a hard line against misclassifying employees, this strikes me as profoundly hypocritical. I am not here to ask for legal advice. Indeed, I have already retained counsel in this matter. Considering additional detail that I won’t get into here, Federal law is likely being broken. Since this is also one of the states that have the strict ‘three prong’ test for classifying employees, the State’s own law is definitely being broken.

I thought, maybe somebody should say something. But my lawyer’s reaction surprised me. He said — this isn’t a big deal, you could just go find another client. And you know what? He’s right. I could totally do that. Maybe since we in the IT industry tend to be well paid, nobody should care, and there’s no reason complain. I’m not asking for legal advice or a recommendation as to what I should do personally; I’m still forming an opinion on the larger issue here, and I’d like you to share yours.


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