June 25th, 2024 2 Minute Read Press Release

New Amicus Brief: Department of Labor Rule Threatens to Disrupt Independent Contractors

NEW YORK, NY – The Manhattan Institute's director of constitutional studies, Ilya Shapiro, summarizes an amicus brief with Americans for Fair Treatment and the Institute for the American Worker to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case Frisard's Transportation, LLC v. Department of Labor:

"Frisard’s Transportation is a family-run trucking company based in Gramercy, Louisiana. Its business model is built around using independent contractors who own their own trucks and manage their own schedules as drivers. However, a new rule issued by the Department of Labor puts their business model at risk. The rule—'Employee or Independent Contractor Classification Under the Fair Labor Standards Act'—changes the criteria for classifying independent contractors, introducing a vague balancing test that replaces the previous clear guidelines. This shift threatens to disrupt the way Frisard’s operates, potentially forcing the company to reclassify its independent drivers as employees, which would significantly increase operational costs and reduce the autonomy drivers currently enjoy. The rule affects more than 350,000 owner-operator truckers in the U.S., as well as 70 million freelancers in a variety of industries, pushing them towards employment status when 80% of them prefer independence.

"Liberty Justice Center and the Pelican Institute filed a complaint on behalf of Frisard’s in February, later amending the complaint to add more trucking companies and the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, and moving for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The district court heard brief telephonic arguments in March and denied both motions, finding no threat of immediate harm. The plaintiffs are appealing to the Fifth Circuit. MI has joined Americans for Fair Treatment and the Institute for the American Worker on a brief that focuses on Administrative Procedure Act violations, including a lack of respect for the reliance by the regulated community on the old rule or a consideration of alternatives."

Read the full amicus brief here.

Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute.

Please direct any media inquiries to press officer Grace Twehous at gtwehous@manhattan.institute.


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