Sanjukta Paul joined the LA Alliance for a New Economy's Ports Project in late 2011 as Legal Coordinator. She brings more than eight years of experience as an attorney and over six years’ experience litigating for civil and workers’ rights in the Los Angeles area.

The Fix: Restoring the Rights of Misclassified Workers

An illegal practice as systemic and widespread as independent contractor misclassification suggests a collective failure of enforcement. Given the huge fiscal, human and environmental costs, what can be done to ameliorate this failure?

The problem is not that the practice is permitted under current law. On the contrary, the phenomenon is referred to as misclassification precisely because it involves the systematic violation of employee protection laws, justified by re-labeling employees as independent contractors.

Employers misclassify workers essentially because 20th century mechanisms of enforcement have not caught up with this spurious 21st century “business practice.”