Governor Moore Issues Executive Order Establishing Cross-Governmental Task Force to Combat Workplace Fraud

Published: 1/11/2024

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore this week signed an executive order to renew and expand a cross-governmental task force dedicated to strengthening investigations and enforcement of laws regarding workplace fraud. The nine-member Joint Enforcement Task Force on Workplace Fraud, chaired by Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Portia Wu, includes Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown and Comptroller Brooke E. Lierman.

"We will never tolerate the exploitation of Maryland workers," said Gov. Moore. "This order will help ensure that employees receive the pay and benefits they've earned while driving fair competition in the private sector. Today, we take an important step toward a more equitable, competitive, and prosperous economy that lifts all Marylanders."

Workplace fraud deprives workers of basic protections such as rights to minimum wage and overtime pay, health insurance coverage, and access to unemployment benefits. Businesses may also be put at a disadvantage when competitors misclassify workers. As a result, required taxes may be unpaid, which lowers state revenue and impacts funding to pay for critical public services. 

“Companies that hire workers and misclassify them to circumvent our tax and labor laws are committing serious fraud that erodes basic rights and benefits, saddles workers with an undue financial burden, and undermines the economic well-being of our state,” said Comptroller Brooke E. Lierman. “This executive order expands our ability to share information, coordinate resources, and investigate suspected workplace fraud to protect Marylanders and their families. We should all stand against this form of egregious theft. I thank Governor Moore for prioritizing this issue and I look forward to working as a partner in this initiative to build a stronger and fairer Maryland.”

As outlined in the executive order, the task force will collaborate to share information and data across agencies and drive strategic and effective enforcement. It will identify industries where workplace fraud is more prevalent and focus efforts to address the problem, including stronger outreach to businesses and workers. The task force will also make recommendations on where regulations and laws may be strengthened.

“I commend Governor Moore’s work to combat workplace fraud and protect Maryland workers and their families,” said Attorney General Anthony G. Brown. “The reestablishment of the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Workplace Fraud is an important effort, along with our work with the Department of Labor to improve and enhance the role of my office and our resources to advance this critical priority. I look forward to continuing our work with the administration to ensure the relationship between Maryland employers and their employees remains fair and equitable.” 

The task force will advance the Moore-Miller Administration’s efforts to make Maryland a fair and equitable place to work and do business. Studies have shown that workers of color, immigrants, young workers and those in low-wage employment are most at risk for exploitation, including misclassification and wage theft.

"This is a win for both businesses and workers,” said Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Portia Wu. “Employees need to be classified correctly and paid fairly, and this keeps our businesses on a level-playing field in the competitive marketplace. The governor's executive order marks the reinvigoration of joint enforcement efforts to combat worker misclassification in Maryland and protect employers and their employees.”