The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) provides organizing and bargaining rights to covered employees, but not independent contractors. Therefore, independent contractors are not generally protected by the NLRA, which has its own definition of who is an employee.
Some workers have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that they have been misclassified as independent contractors under the NLRA and should have the organizing rights that the NLRA provides. The NLRB investigates these charges, and if workers are successful, they may win organizing and bargaining rights. For example, a group of port truck drivers recently won employee status, organizing and bargaining rights through a settlement facilitated by the NLRB.
Employees who are misclassified as independent contractors may also be deprived of their rights under wage and hour, health and safety, anti-discrimination, workers’ compensation, and other laws. The test for whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor depends on the law at issue and may differ. Employees who believe they are misclassified may bring complaints to the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other relevant agencies. Find out more: www.worker.gov.