The federal government has again demonstrated its sincerity in cracking down on the misuse of the "independent contractor" label for workers who are actually employees. In a press release today, the Department of Labor details two misclassification victories in west coast federal courts, including one involving National Consolidated Couriers, Inc. wherein the company has agreed to a judgment of $5 million!
As detailed in previous articles on this blog, misclassification hurts workers and it hurts businesses that comply with the law. Workers who are misclassified as independent contractors are often denied minimum wage and overtime, are not protected by workers' compensation insurance, and are responsible for their own self-employment taxes. Business is hurt because companies that treat their workers fairly as employees under the law are at a competitive disadvantage because their cost of doing business is more.
Both the North Carolina Wage & Hour act and the Fair Labor Standards Act require payment of overtime for hours worked over 40 in a work week. Detailed timesheets are not necessarily important, as it is the employer's duty to keep track of the hours you worked- a reasonable estimate may suffice if they have not. Under both laws a misclassified worker who was unlawfully denied overtime may be entitled to double damages and attorney fees, and both state and federal laws protect workers who complain about unpaid wages from retaliation.
The North Carolina employment law attorneys at Edelstein & Payne have experience dealing with employee misclassification cases, including lawsuits for unpaid overtime. If you believe you have been unlawfully denied overtime, fill out the form on our employment law page and schedule a consultation.