Misclassification As Independent Contractor May Be A Violation Of The Fair Labor Standards Act

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act sounds fairly straightforward. Pursuant to its rules, just about every employee in the United States who works for a wage is entitled to minimum wage and if they are not exempt, overtime compensation. Overtime is to be paid at a rate of one and one-half times your hourly rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. However, wage and hour laws are far from straightforward, and employers often violate these provisions when they classify those who work for them – employee or independent contractors, exempt or non-exempt.

In a recent back wages case out of Ohio, a group of employees sued Cascom, Inc., after being denied overtime pay because they were misclassified as independent contractors. Cascom provides residential cable television, Internet and telephone installation services. The workers are seeking to recover more than $1.6 million in back wages and damages. The overtime lawsuit was filed by the Labor Department after an investigation by the local Wage and Hour Division determined that the company was violating the FLSA.

Although no one factor determines if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, one of the most significant factors is whether the person for whom services are performed has control or the right to control the worker both as to the work to be done and the manner and means in which it is performed. In most situations, if the person you are working for has control over your work, then you are considered an employee.

As stated by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, “The misclassification of employees as independent contractors is an alarming trend. The practice is a serious threat to both workers, who are entitled to good and safe jobs, and to employers who obey the law and are undercut when others use illegal practices.”

Last month Secretary Solis signed a memorandum of understanding furthering Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force, to prevent, detect and remedy employee misclassification.

If you believe you have been misclassified at work – either inadvertently or intentionally – it is important to speak to an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney who can review your claim and provide you crucial advice regarding your next steps. For more information contact the dedicated Georgia overtime compensation lawyers Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for a confidential case evaluation.