The US Department of Labor Independent Contractor Rule Destroys Black and Hispanic Economic Independence

AP Photo/David Goldman, File

The United States Department of Labor Final Rule on Independent Contractors went into effect on March 11, 2024, despite lawsuits filed against the rule and a pushback from Congress. So, its business-killing regulations are now fully implemented and have already affected independent professionals and small businesses nationwide. Back in May of 2021, the Financial Services Institute (FSI), which advocates on behalf of independent financial advisors and independent service firms, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. DOL for the steps it took to withdraw the 2021 Independent Contractor Rule implemented by the Trump administration.


The Financial Services Institute, a trade group representing the independent broker-dealer industry, and its coalition partners filed an amended complaint March 5 to vacate the DOL independent contractor rule. The lawsuit asks the court to declare the 2024 rule invalid, prohibit its implementation and allow the 2021 independent contractor rule to remain in effect.

“Our members should not have to risk losing their independent contractor status because, for example, they are complying with federal and state securities rules,” said Dale Brown, president and CEO of FSI, in a statement.

While FSI received a stay of the rescission of the 2021 rule, in 2022, the U.S. DOL successfully appealed and was allowed to ignore the Trump administration rule until their rule under their administration could be issued. These are the games that are played with the people who are most instrumental in fueling the economic engines of America.

With the Biden administration's final independent contractor rule in place, FSI, along with the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeast Texas, and the Coalition for Workforce Innovation, has asked for the stay of the appellate proceedings to be lifted so that they could file an Amended Complaint to challenge the new rule. What is tacitly ignored by most legacy media when discussing this rule is how greatly it impacts and disenfranchises women and minority independent professionals and business owners. Now, Black financial advisors are making their voices heard on this. The Association of African American Financial Advisors (AAAA) decried the Biden final independent contractor rule in a recent blog post.


A new DOL rule that makes it tougher to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees could disproportionately impact Black and African American advisors and the investors who seek to work with them, the Association of African American Financial Advisors (AAAA) said in a new blog.

The AAAA’s data reveals that about 26% of its members who operate independently or as registered investment advisor reps will be impacted by the new rule, which in turn will impact the financial well-being of 3% to 6% of Black investors, the trade group estimated.

“Many advisors, currently independent contractors, could be reclassified as employees, setting off a chain reaction of increased operational costs, reduced flexibility, and potentially declining professional availability. This revision bears implications for financial advisors and their ability to serve their communities efficiently,” AAAA said.

Much of the work of Biden's foot soldiers, like Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, is supposed to level the playing field and create "equity" for the disenfranchised, people of color, transgenders, or whatever victim group Biden decides needs the government's attention and overreach. Blacks are letting the U.S. DOL know that they can keep their attention and overreach; what we want is our independence to work as we choose and contribute to our families, communities, and society as we see fit. In other words, stop creating obstacles to our economic freedom and viability.

The trade group said the transition from independent contractor to employee status for financial advisors has several drawbacks, including the following:

• Increased Costs: The transition to employee entails business expenses, potentially causing higher client fees.
• Decreased Flexibility: Mandatory adherence to employer policies can hinder the ability to meet the unique needs of low-income clients.
• Reduced Availability: Stricter regulations may force some Black and African-American (B/AA) financial advisors out of the industry, the group said.

Hispanics are feeling this way as well. Particularly Hispanic women, who rely heavily on independent contract and gig work to maintain their households.

Half of all immigrants are engaged in independent work. Low barriers to entry allow women, immigrants, younger individuals and those with lower incomes to make a living through independent work. 

For Hispanics, a whopping 50 percent of whom report being independent workers, it’s a gateway to the labor market, earning part-time or full-time income through consulting, delivery services, nursing, ride-sharing, dog-walking — you name it.

Freelancing, contract work, app-based gigs and side hustles are increasingly prevalent in today’s workforce nationwide. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 57.2 million U.S. workers were in the independent workforce. Since then, the estimated number of freelancers has skyrocketed to 73.3 million and is growing. 


Like the Secretary of Education's bastardization of Title IX is destroying opportunities and security for young girls and women, the U.S. DOL's final independent contractor rule is destroying freedom of work and entrepreneurship. Businesses, whether fledgling or established, cannot work under the arbitrary measures and inconsistent standards. As one law journal surmised, "Businesses crave certainty and a legal landscape that is not continuously shifting beneath their feet. Yet that is not the current state of play."

What is the current state of play? An ACTING Secretary of Labor who is actively ignoring independent professionals and small businesses while promoting unions and preening as the token Asian in the Biden administration for AAPI Month.

This particular post breaks credulity.

Acting Secretary Julie Su is acting as though her first appointment and its subsequent failed confirmation never happened. She also acts as though independent professionals and small businesses, particularly women and minority-owned, are not being targeted by this U.S. DOL rule. 


I am sure POTUS is very proud of Su's work engineering the destruction of American freedoms and the economy. The rest of us, not so much. Su has been grilled for the past two weeks on everything from her inability to get her employees back to work to children being trafficked at the southern border, and her abject incompetence shines through with each interaction. As Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA) said at the end of an Education & Workforce Protections oversight hearing on May 1, "I’m going to be blunt. It’s time for you to step down. This has gotten ridiculous." 

Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) also shared this sentiment. It's time for this tool of destruction, who destroyed California's working professionals and is enacting this same destruction nationally, to go.



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