New York Governor Cuomo Orders Joint Task Force to Fight Worker Exploitation and Misclassification

On July 20th, 2016, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo released an Executive Order creating a Joint Task Force to fight the exploitation and misclassification of workers. Millions of workers have been exploited through wage theft, unstable hours, illegal deductions, unsafe working conditions, employee misclassification, and deprivation of benefits. Workers are not the only ones being abused: New York State has also been deprived of substantial revenues as a result of unlawful conduct by employers.

New York State has organized similar task forces in recent years, including:

  • Joint Enforcement Task Force (JETF), established in 2007 to form strategies to systemically investigate employee misclassification and prosecute lawbreaking employers;
  • Multi-Agency Nail Salon Industry Enforcement Task Force, launched in 2015 to recover unpaid wages, close unlicensed or unlawful businesses, and enforce safe working conditions and health and safety regulations; and
  • Exploited Workers’ Task Force, established in 2015 to stop illegal practices and recover wages across New York.

The Executive Order issued on July 20th merges the aforementioned task forces into a single permanent body called the Joint Task Force on Employee Misclassification and Worker Exploitation. The Joint Task Force is also a collective inclusion of many departments, agencies, and authorities, such as the Departments of Labor, State, Health, Agriculture and Markets, and Taxation and Finance; the Divisions of Criminal Justice Services and Human Rights; the Offices of Children and Family Services, Temporary and Disability Assistance, and Faith-Based Community Development Services; the State Police; the State Liquor Authority; the Workers’ Compensation Board, etc.

This new Joint Task Force has the power to:

  • Share information between members about suspected worker exploitation and misclassification.
  • Refer cases to member agencies or prosecutors.
  • Collaborate with advocacy groups to develop new ways to prevent, detect, deter, and report worker misclassification and exploitation.
  • Improve current methods of investigating and enforcing action against industries that commonly exploit and misclassify their workers.
  • Identify potential violators.
  • Facilitate the filing of complaints.
  • Increase public awareness about the harm and illegality of employee misclassification and worker exploitation.
  • Assist vulnerable populations in cooperation with all federal, state, and local social service agencies.
  • Clarify any existing ambiguities or inconsistencies that would strengthen education efforts and enforcement of the law.
  • Host statewide fact-finding sessions to investigate workplace challenges among the various industries.

Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order is intended to promote fairness and protect the well-being of all New Yorkers. All employers and workers in New York State should take note that in order to accomplish this objective, Governor Cuomo is cracking down hard on violators. This Joint Task Force will have a powerful reach and will not treat lightly any infringements of the law. To protect your well-being and the success of your business, maintain a complaint IC business model and take care to follow all legal requirements that protect your workers.

Consultech can help your business become compliant with all regulations so that in the event of any investigations by the Joint Task Force, you can demonstrate your respect for and obedience to the law. If legal action is taken against you for any reason, Consultech can also help by responding to and dealing with claims or inquiries on your behalf. Consultech has 30 years of experience providing pro-active and re-active services in many different industries. We can help you protect your company and minimize your risk of audits, regulatory assessments, and claims. To learn more, call (800) 769-2994 or complete our online contact form today.