Attorney General Ellison forms Task Force on Worker Misclassification
Applications accepted until early August through online Open Appointments process
July 6, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that he is forming a new Advisory Task Force on Worker Misclassification. He is soliciting applications to serve on the Task Force through the State of Minnesota Open Appointments process. Applications are being accepted now through August 2, 2023.
“Misclassifying workers hurts not only those who are misclassified and their families, it hurts all Minnesotans, including businesses who do the right thing by their employees by playing by the rules, and every Minnesota taxpayer who has to make up the slack for law breaking employers,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I’ve created this task force to gather the best thinking about the problem and make practical, workable recommendations to the Legislature, State agencies, other levels of government, industry, nonprofit organizations, and advocates about how we can put an end to the problem. It’s another way we can help create a more level playing field and a fairer economy, which helps all Minnesotans better afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect.”
Applying for the Task Force
Ten positions on the 15-member Task Force will be filled through the State of Minnesota Open Appointments process. Attorney General Ellison is seeking people to serve on the Task Force from the following backgrounds:
- Five advocates for workers, including from labor unions, non-profits, and new economy worker organizing;
- Two researchers or academics specializing in employment, labor, and/or economic justice;
- Three Minnesotans of any background with an interest in the topic (at least one from the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area and one from Greater Minnesota, and no congressional district will be represented twice).
The five remaining positions on the Task Force will be reserved for one member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, one member of the Minnesota Senate, and one representative each from the Minnesota Department of Revenue, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Minnesotans interested in serving on the Task Force may apply by August 2, 2023 via the Open Appointments process on the Secretary of State’s website.
Worker misclassification occurs when an employer improperly classifies an employee as an independent contractor. While some workplace roles may be appropriately assigned to independent contractors, misclassifying workers who should be considered employees can expose them to exploitation and discrimination without the basic federal and state labor-law protections to employees, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, and disability accommodations, among others. Businesses that actively practice misclassification in order to save on wages may create a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace and an uneven playing field for employers who are in compliance with the law.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Misclassification denies employees access to critical benefits and protections they are entitled to — overtime, the minimum wage, family and medical leave and, in some cases, safe workplaces. It generates substantial losses to the U.S. Treasury and the Social Security and Medicare funds, as well as to state unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds. It cheats every taxpayer. It undermines the entire economy.”
Scope of the Task Force
Members of the Task Force will study the issue of worker misclassification and its impacts on workers, the business community, and the public at large; explore best practices in policy and enforcement from examples based in Minnesota and in other states and jurisdictions; and propose a set of recommendations for both enforcement and regulatory reform. The task force will publish a final report on their findings and recommendations in the spring of 2024 but will likely make initial policy recommendations in December 2023 in time for the 2024 legislative session.