Employers are responsible for properly classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors. When workers are categorized as employees, they must be further classified as either exempt or non-exempt. Worker classification directly impacts the employer’s bottomline. Employers are often able to save money by classifying employees as contractors, and by classifying non-exempt employees as exempt. At the same time, misclassification cheats workers out of wages and benefits. Under federal and state laws, workers who have been misclassified may be entitled to compensation.
The employment misclassification attorneys at Miller Shah LLP are accomplished advocates for workers who have been misclassified. Because the actions of one employer may affect thousands of workers, we often handle violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and similar state laws as class actions. In appropriate cases, we have also represented employers defending such actions.
How Does the FLSA Protect Workers?
The FLSA provides special protections for workers who are classified as non-exempt employees; however, contractors and exempt employees are not covered by these protections, which include the following:
- Guaranteed minimum wage
- Overtime pay of one and one-half times the worker’s regular wage rate
- Record keeping of hours and pay by the employer
- Reasonable break time for nursing mothers
A worker’s status is of great concern to the United States government, as well as to the states, because these entities stand to lose substantial tax revenues and contributions to unemployment and workers’ compensation funds when employees are misclassified as contractors. States, including California and New Jersey, provide stronger protections for workers than federal laws. More states are introducing protections and laws are continually evolving.
Although the laws are complex and, at times, vague, worker misclassification is illegal. If you believe you were misclassified as an independent contractor, seek the counsel of an experienced employment classification attorney who is familiar with the latest changes and court rulings that may impact your claim.
What Types of Employees Can be Classified as Exempt?
There are many types of employees that can be classified as exempt from the protections of the FLSA. These employees are considered white-collar workers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are three tests for exemption.
If a worker’s salary level is above a certain limit, or if his/her salary basis reflects a pre-determined amount of compensation each pay period, the worker may be considered exempt. Certain job duties and titles are also classified as exempt, including executives, administrators, professionals, outside sales representatives, and certain types of computer employees.
Types of Employment Misclassification Claims
Workers who are misclassified may have the right to file a claim because they have been denied access to wages and protections, including unemployment insurance, family and medical leave, and a safe workplace. Types of misclassification claims include:
- Tipped worker/tip theft
- Undocumented work or working off the clock
- Wage and hour
- Vacation pay
- Meal and rest breaks
If you believe you have been misclassified, contact an experienced employment classification attorney for professional legal counsel before speaking with your employer. Since there have been incidents of employer retaliation against workers who file misclassification claims, legal representation is essential to protecting your right to earn a living. If you work for a larger firm, there may be many others similarly affected by your employer’s actions, and you may be able to join a class action suit against your employer.
Employment Classification Attorneys at Miller Shah LLP Deliver Clear Recommendations and Real Results to Clients Nationwide
The number and complexity of misclassification cases continues to grow in today’s gig economy. The skilled employment classification attorneys at Miller Shah LLP do not shy away from complex legal challenges. Rather, our skilled professionals tackle the most sophisticated cases with finesse and confidence. We deliver clear recommendations and produce results that make a difference. If you are a worker who has been misclassified, or an employer seeking reliable counsel regarding the ever-changing arena of misclassification law, contact us online or call us at 866-540-5505 to schedule a confidential consultation. We serve clients nationwide from our office locations in Pennsylvania, New York, California, Florida, New Jersey, and Connecticut.