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A.G. Schneiderman files brief defending misclassified employees' rights

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined a coalition of 12 Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief with the National Labor Relations Board supporting its decision against Velox Express Inc., which concluded that the company’s misclassification of employees as independent contractors constituted an unfair labor practice in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The Administrative Law Judge in the case against Velox Express Inc. determined that Velox Express, an Indiana-based company that performs medical specimen pick-ups, retail deliveries, home infusions, and long-term care pharmacy work, misclassified its drivers as independent contractors and restrained them from exercising their right to unionize. 

“Businesses do not have a right to misclassify employees as a way to block them from organizing,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Our coalition of Attorneys General will continue to fight for workers’ fundamental rights to organize, access workplace protections, and get paid fair pay for a fair day’s work.”

According to the brief, misclassification is an increasingly common way for employers to avoid their legal obligations to employees and to unfairly compete in the marketplace. When employers misclassify their workers as independent contractors, it is harder for those employees to assert their workplace rights, including protections from wage theft, harassment, and discrimination. Misclassified workers are also denied Occupational Health and Safety Act protections, and are unable to form unions, collectively bargain, or join in concerted efforts to improve conditions in their workplace without fear of reprisal from employers.

Employers that misclassify their workers fail to make legally-required contributions to unemployment insurance and to obtain adequate worker’s compensation coverage. These actions pose significant cost in terms of lost revenue for state, local, and federal government. In a recent case, Attorney General Schneiderman convicted three Queens construction companies of misclassifying workers; the Attorney General won back over $371,000 in unpaid wages for workers and nearly $360,000 in unpaid unemployment contributions.

The coalition of state attorneys general, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, submitted today’s brief at the invitation of the National Labor Relations Board. Joining today’s coalition are attorneys general from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.