Becky Baker and Leslie Byrd recently spoke with Kelsey Brugger, E&E News reporter, about a new proposed rule that would make it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors — a move that could affect the oil patch.
Baker said workers who are just getting into the business tend to want to be classified as contractors for tax reasons.
“But then, later on, they say, ‘Oh, I’ve been working a lot of hours overtime pay’ or ‘I wish I could have insurance.’ Something tends to happen where the relationship sours and they say, ‘You should have been treating me like an employee all along.’“
That has led to a significant number of class-action lawsuits brought by highly skilled workers in recent years, said Byrd. “We have seen some inconsistent decisions in the courts, as well as some changes in the energy industry.”