Companies Treating Workers as Independent Contractors
Workers in many fields are misclassified as independent contractors, when by law, they are really employees who would be entitled to minimum wage, overtime at the rate of time and one half, and would be entitled to have the employer bear the cost of work related expenses. The misclassification of workers as contractors is common in industries such as truck drivers, delivery drivers, janitors, security guards, store delivery persons, and home health care providers such as nurses, home health aides, and various therapists. While the test of who is a contractor and who is an employee can be complex, relevant considerations are how much control the business exerts over the work of the contractor, whether the contractor is performing the primary business of the company, and whether the contractor is truly in business for themselves.
Companies often use misclassification not only as a way to avoid paying minimum wage and overtime, but as a means to take deductions out of workers’ pay for things that an employer would typically cover, such as fuel for a truck. But they often reach further into worker’s pockets to deduct things like commissions and service charges, housing expenses, portfolios and photographic services, visas, transportation and travel. Companies may also require workers classified as independent contractors to sign exclusive multi-year contracts that prohibit workers from obtaining other work and contain oppressive terms, such as a power of attorney clause, giving a company the ability to negotiate rates of pay, deposit checks and deduct expenses on behalf of a worker.
Getman, Sweeney & Dunn has won declarations in federal court that major trucking companies Central Refrigerated Service and Swift Transportation Co. wrongfully classified its employees as independent contractors.
If you work in this industry and would like to speak with us about whether you were paid all wages you were owed, please send us the information needed by filling out the Industry Inquiry form.