One year ago, Boston University economist and business writer David Weil took over as head of the Department of Labor’s most important office, the wage and hour division. In that time, his small corner of the federal bureaucracy has been transformed from innocuous cog to powerful lever in the recent efforts by Barack Obama’s administration to vigilantly police companies that violate the rights of American workers. Weil’s leadership in the fight against employee misclassification — the dramatic expansion of independent contracting and franchising, and employers’ efforts to misuse these categories for their own gain — has been invaluable. Weil argues that this practice is at the heart of the historic gap between wages and profits in the American economy, and he has worked hard to rein in abuses.

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