Earlier this week, five computer-network technicians filed suit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc., claiming that they failed to receive all overtime compensation due.
At issue, whether the technicians are considered contractors or employees. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all employees who are not exempt must be paid at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek. This straightforward-sounding rule is incredibly complex and is at the root of countless lawsuits.
In Bardouille v. Goldman Sachs & Co., technicians alleged that they worked more than 70 hours in a week, yet were denied overtime. More than 100 employees in New York and New Jersey were also allegedly underpaid.
Whether an individual is classified as an “employee” or “independent contractor” has significant implications for many businesses, and may substantially impact an individual’s rights to benefits and overtime compensation. Often no one specific factor conclusively answers how certain workers are categorized. Rather, courts look at a variety of factors to determine the nature of the relationship. The more evidence of an employer exercising supervision, direction and control of an individual’s work, the more likely an employer/employee relationship will be found.
Some considerations include:
• If the employer determines when, where and how services will be performed • Whether the employer provides a facility where work is performed • The amount of supervision provided • Whether the employer or the worker determines the rate of pay • The exclusivity of services • Whether permission is required for absences • How the worker is compensated, i.e. by salary, an hourly rate of pay, or on commission
Where an employee relationship is found, workers may be entitled to substantial sums in terms of benefits and overtime compensation.
If you have questions or believe you have been denied all the compensation you are entitled to, please contact the Law Firm of Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, dedicated to protecting workers’ rights.