Foley & Lardner LLP Of Counsel Mark Neuberger is quoted in the Law360 article, “Classification Debate Takes New Turn With Fla. Crisis Aid Law,” about S.B. 542, a new Florida law preempting potential employee misclassification litigation by specifying that independent contractors who receive assistance from their place of work during a state public emergency cannot use that relief to argue the existence of an employee-employer relationship.
Neuberger said, “This is another tug on the rope in the tug of war between employee or nonemployee, which has so many different dimensions to it — gig worker, independent contractor. You have certain states, like California, really cracking down on independent contractors but at the same time leaving carveouts for certain gig workers…This is Florida’s answer, to say, ‘We want to help employers.’”
Neuberger noted that companies often want to step in and help their workers recover quickly, which often means cash in hand, and that the law encourages companies to assist workers without fear.
“It would be in the company’s economic interest to help those workers,” he said. But at the same time, employers are concerned that those workers will then turn around and say, “because you gave me a thousand bucks to help me through the damage I had because of the hurricane, now you should have paid me overtime for the last three years.”
Neuberger added that questions remain, and employers should consult employment attorneys prior to taking any action as the new law takes effect.