If you work in California, then you know that some (not all!) employers will do just about anything to save themselves money, and not pay employees what they are owed…
One thing that employers can do to employees is to misclassify them.
Some California workers do not receive minimum wages.
Some California workers do not get overtime pay.
Some California workers do not get pay for meals and breaks.
Whether it is on purpose, or accidentally, California employers can treat certain groups of employees as exempt from overtime pay. When they do this, the employer is not obligated to pay that group of employees overtime.
Think about that.
If your employer MISCLASSIFIED you as exempt from overtime, how much money would that cost you? How much money would that cost you every day? Every week? Every pay period? Every year?
“Misclassification is workplace fraud, plain and simple,” said US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. “It hurts workers by denying them a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, and it also undermines the competitiveness of businesses that are playing by the rules. At the Labor Department, through vigilant and vigorous enforcement, we are cracking down on irresponsible employers who game the system and cheat their employees — and that’s what they are: not contractors, but employees.”
Thankfully, there are solutions. There is help out there!
HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?
California employers misclassify some workers as independent contractors instead of as employees; there are and have been a number of recent cases that address just this issue.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF EMPLOYEE MISCLASSIFICATION?
There are many. An excellent recent example happened right here in California. Sav-on Drug Stores both managers and assistant sales managers claimed they had been misclassified as exempt from overtime.
These managers performed all the duties an employee would — spent their time working as a regular employee — yet were allegedly still denied overtime pay.
Sometimes misclassification occurs when an employer labels an employee an “Independent Contractor.” Certain positions are more likely to be misclassified. Take a look at some of the positions that have possibly been wrongfully classified as an “Independent Contractor:”
- INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WORKERS
- COMPUTER-RELATED WORKERS
- TRANSPORTATION WORKERS
- FAST-FOOD RESTAURANT MANAGERS
- RETAIL STORE MANAGERS
- NAIL SALON EMPLOYEES
- MASSAGE PARLORS
- TRUCK DRIVERS
- DELIVERY DRIVERS
- HAIR SALONS
- BARBER SHOPS
- VETERINARY CLINICS
- DENTAL OFFICE WORKERS
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF…
If you answered yes to any of the following questions, then you may be owed money…
- HAS YOUR EMPLOYER TOLD YOU THAT YOU ARE AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR?
- DO YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE AN EMPLOYEE RATHER THAN AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR?
- DOES YOUR EMPLOYER DENY MEAL OR REST BREAKS OR REFUSE TO PAY OVERTIME BECAUSE IT CLAIMS YOU ARE AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR?
HOW DO WORKERS KNOW WHETHER THEY HAVE BEEN MISCLASSIFIED AS INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS?
The U.S. Department of Labor has published a worksheet that describes the factors that courts generally consider under the Fair Labor Standards Act when determining whether an employment relationship exists. These include:
- THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE WORK PERFORMED IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE EMPLOYER’S BUSINESS;
- WHETHER THE WORKER’S MANAGERIAL SKILLS AFFECT HIS OR HER OPPORTUNITY FOR PROFIT AND LOSS;
- THE RELATIVE INVESTMENTS IN FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT BY THE WORKER AND THE EMPLOYER;
- THE WORKER’S SKILL AND INITIATIVE;
- THE PERMANENCY OF THE WORKER’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EMPLOYER;
- THE NATURE AND DEGREE OF CONTROL BY THE EMPLOYER.
CAN EMPLOYEES REALLY FIGHT BACK?
Read what the US Department Of Labor had to say about two recent cases…
Two recent and very significant legal victories for California workers send a strong message to employers nationwide: if you misclassify your employees, you will face the consequences.
“National Consolidated Couriers Inc., based in San Leandro but with clients across the country, has agreed to a court judgment requiring it to pay $5 million in back wages and damages to more than 600 drivers it misclassified as independent contractors, having cheated them out of minimum wage and overtime pay.”
“In another major win for workers, a federal judge ruled that drivers for Mountain View-based Stanford Yellow Taxi Cab, Inc. were also misclassified. The court’s decision allows the department to continue with litigation forcing the company to pay nearly $3 million in back wages and damages to dozens of drivers.”
MOST CALIFORNIA EMPLOYEES DO NOT KNOW THEIR RIGHTS!
That’s the unfortunate reality. Most California employees think that they have no rights because they work in an “at-will” state. Nothing could be further from the truth. Learn more about your employee rights. Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights (LFECR) is a leading California employment law firm. With 40+ remote attorneys, LFECR can work on behalf of clients anywhere in California. Fired unfairly? Your free consult awaits!
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Have a great day!