Tag Archives: Wyoming

DOL Partnership regarding worker misclassification — 34 States and Counting

Thirty-five states have agreed to “team up” with the US Department of Labor to investigate worker misclassification. Is your state one of them?

In 2015, Department of Labor launched an initiative to combat the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. As a part of this initiative, the Department of Labor sought to partner with the state agencies and agree to share information and conduct joint investigations regarding independent contractor misclassification. To date, 35 states have entered into a memorandum of understanding regarding worker misclassification issues.

These states are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

What does this mean for employers in these states?

Employers in the above-listed states should expect collaborative efforts between their state agencies and the Department of Labor during a investigation into potential employee misclassification as the state and the Department of Labor will share information. This could lead to simultaneous, multi-agency investigations into worker classification. It is recommended that companies have qualified legal counsel review any existing independent contractor arrangements. In addition, before entering into an independent contractor relationship, speak with an HR Professional or qualified legal counsel to verify that the worker truly is an independent contractor.

Wyoming Says “Yes” To Veteran Hiring Preference

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead recently signed a law enabling employers to choose to grant preference to an applicant/employee’s veteran status in hiring and promotion decisions. Under the law, employers may also extend a similar preference to a spouse of a disabled veteran and to a surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. This hiring preference may be extended without being considered a discriminatory or unfair employment practice provided that there is not an underlying unlawful reason for granting the preference.

This new law goes into effect on July 1, 2016.

Wyoming Discrimination Charge Trends for 2014

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services’ Labor Standards Division recently published statistics regarding the number and type of discrimination charges it received in 2014.

The Wyoming Labor Standards Division received a total of 203 discrimination charges in 2014, which were broken down by allegation as follows:

Type of Charge* Number of Charges
Retaliation 76
Sex 55
Disability 46
Age 33
National Origin 27
Race 21
Religion 7

*Note, some charges contained more than one type of discrimination allegation

These statistics are reflective of trends observed by the EEOC for its 2014 fiscal year (October 2013 through September 2014) with respect to discrimination claims it received from Wyoming workers.

In 2014, the EEOC received a total of 69 discrimination charges from Wyoming workers, which were broken down by allegation as follows:

Type of Charge* Number of Charges
Retaliation 30
Sex 29
Disability 25
Age 20
Race 14
National Origin 6
Color 4
Equal Pay Act 3
Religion 2

*Note, some charges contained more than one type of discrimination allegation

Based on these trends, the top three complaints received regarding Wyoming employers at both the state and federal level are retaliation, sex discrimination and disability discrimination. In order to avoid these types of claims, Wyoming employers need to be certain to (1) educate their managers and supervisors on how to avoid retaliation in the workplace; (2) conduct training of all employees regarding sex discrimination and harassment; and (3) train their managers and supervisors on how to recognize and properly address employee requests for reasonable accommodation.