Former Secretary of Labor Files Amicus Brief in Support of Legal Battle to Defend Independent Contractors

July 3, 2024

Representing seven major American business and trade associations, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia has filed an amicus brief in support of the Liberty Justice Center and Pelican Institute’s battle to defend independent contractors.

In January, the Department of Labor enacted a new rule which abruptly reclassifies independent contractors as employees—threatening millions of Americans’ livelihoods by leaving workers’ legal status unclear and eradicating independent contractors’ control over their work, products, and partnerships.

The Liberty Justice Center and Pelican Institute co-filed a lawsuit in February to challenge the new rule on behalf of Frisard’s Transportation, L.L.C., a Louisiana-based trucking company. The legal organizations then filed an amended complaint in March when four additional organizations—representing hundreds of trucking and transportation companies across Louisiana—joined the lawsuit as additional plaintiffs.

Secretary Scalia’s recent amicus brief argues that the Department of Labor’s 2024 rule should be struck down by the Court as arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to federal law. The brief also emphasizes the damage the rule does to independent contractors by eradicating their flexibility and freedom and forcing them into the rigid employer-employee relationships they sought to avoid—as well as the threat the rule poses to the economy by harming a vital portion of the American workforce.

The amicus brief was filed on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America; Coalition for Workforce Innovation; Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeast Texas, Inc.; Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.; Financial Services Institute, Inc.; National Federation of Independent Business, Inc.; National Retail Federation; and American Trucking Associations. The organizations represent hundreds of thousands of members across the country whose work is impacted by the Department of Labor’s arbitrary rule change.

“The Department of Labor’s January rule change violates federal law, oversteps the agency’s authority, and threatens the livelihoods of millions. It cannot stand,” said Buck Dougherty, Senior Counsel at the Liberty Justice Center. “We are pleased to see the growing national support for our legal battle through this amicus brief, and will continue to fight for independent contractors in court.”

The Liberty Justice Center and the Pelican Institute filed Frisard’s Transportation, L.L.C. v. United States Department of Labor in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on February 8, 2024. The case is currently on appeal at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The legal filings in the case are available here.


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