As one glass and window company outside of Texas discovered, there are consequences when a company classifies its workers as independent contractors instead of classifying them as employees. The U.S. Labor Department filed a complaint against the company in a federal court, accusing it of misclassifying the window installers and violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Even the company's workers that were labeled as employees had issues and alleged that they did not always have their overtime pay paid at the correct rate.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division conducted an investigation and determined that the company did have the workers classified incorrectly. As a result, none of the people who worked more than 40 hours per week were given overtime. This is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to the FLSA, non-exempt workers should be given time and one-half when they work over 40 hours and be paid the federal minimum wage.
This not the first time the company had been accused of violating labor laws. In the same facility in 2013, a group of 25 employee alleged similar issues. The court ruled in their favor, and they were awarded over $35,000 for lost wages.
The complaint represents 16 past and present affected workers who are seeking to be awarded $14,000 for lost wages as well as an equal amount in damages. Because this is not the first time that the company has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the lawsuit is also seeking over $17,000 in civil penalties. Additionally, the company seeks injunctive relief to prevent any more FLSA violations going forward. Companies in Texas and elsewhere who violate the federal and state labor laws should be held accountable for their actions through the legal system. If the court sustains the claim, the employees may be awarded lost wages and benefits as well as any other financial the court decides.
Source: daytondailynews.com, "Area glass company owes $46K in unpaid wages, penalties", Dave Larsen, Oct. 15, 2015