The Department of Labor (DOL), its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission have signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) intended to protect employees’ rights and level the playing field for employers by preventing worker misclassification as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses.

The agencies will jointly provide clear, accurate and easy-to-access outreach to employers, employees and other stakeholders; share resources; and enhance enforcement by conducting coordinated investigations and sharing information consistent with applicable law, according to a press release.

The WHD is already working with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and 34 other states to combat employee misclassification and to ensure that workers get the wages, benefits and protections to which they are entitled. Labeling employees as something they are not –- such as independent contractors –- can deny them basic rights such as minimum wage, overtime and other benefits. Misclassification also lowers tax revenue to federal and state governments improperly, and creates losses for state unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds, according to the DOL.