Summer is often a time when people slow down. For DSA and our advocacy efforts there is no time for a summer break or recess. The work of protecting the business model heats up like a hot summer’s day in August.
The industry faced an inflection point regarding our two key issues: the salesforce’s independent contractor status and Federal Trade Commission channel oversight. The DSA team is working to build awareness among legislators and law enforcement officials about the benefits of self-regulation and the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council’s (DSSRC) success in protecting consumers.
When the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced plans to initiate a new rule for determining independent contractor status, it overtook a significant court victory by the Coalition of Workforce Innovation, an entity for which DSA serves as Vice-Chair. DSA had participated in forums with the Department, and we anticipate the announcement of a rule that will further narrow the criteria defining independent contractors.
Although DSA’s work supporting federal and state legislation continues to clearly define direct sellers as independent contractors, the DOL’s move marks a significant development that will require extensive engagement.
The Association continues to work with the Federal Trade Commission to ensure it has the power to move against the bad actors that masquerade as legitimate companies. DSA has supported legislation that, while including appropriate guardrails, grants the Federal Trade Commission the authority to collect monetary damages on behalf of consumers. Similar efforts have been and will continue to be successful at the state level.
Over the course of a few short months, DSA undertook a Herculean effort regarding a proposed rule by the FTC that would specify the points that could—and could not—comprise any earnings claims made by companies and salesforce members. The Association formed an FTC engagement task force that dictated the strategy and approach for filing comments on the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The task force’s efforts will continue as the Commission determines whether to officially proceed with a rule.
The DSSRC has had the good fortune to educate several states’ chief law enforcement officials about direct selling’s self-regulatory framework. It was through similar efforts DSSRC received praise from sitting U.S. Senators during a hearing of the United States Senate Commerce Committee.
It is important that we continue our collaboration with legislators and regulators so that we can help shape the policies that protect consumers and allow our millions of micro-entrepreneurs to work their business seamlessly. We hope you are planning to bring executives and salesforce to Washington, DC on September 20-21 for Direct Selling Day on Capitol Hill to show the true impact of these businesses across the United States.
Immediately following, the DSA Legal & Regulatory Seminar on September 21-23 will allow collaboration and presentations so you can integrate the latest compliance, legal, and regulatory issues into your 2023 plans and initiatives. Visit DSA.org for more details.
Brian Bennett is the Senior Vice President Government Affairs and Policy of the U.S. Direct Selling Association.
From the August 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.