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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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01 Nov 2016 Dancer Employees Allegedly Stripped of Wages Through Misclassification

  It has long been argued by many detractors that gentlemen’s clubs objectify women. A group of exotic dancers in Philadelphia has gone a step further and argued that their employer has objectified them as workers by failing to treat them as employees and failing to pay them the minimum wages to which they are entitled. A class of approximately 75 exotic dancers has sued The Penthouse Club under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claiming they were wrongly classified as independent contractors and were…

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16 Sep 2016 Oklahoma and U.S. DOL Agree to Tag-Team Worker Misclassification Initiatives

  As the effort to stamp-out worker misclassification under the Fair Labor Standards Act continues to run strong, Oklahoma is the latest state to join the U.S. Department of Labor’s Misclassification Initiative. Specifically, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission entered into a three-year Common Interest Agreement with the U.S. DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, under which the agencies agree to share data, exchange information, and coordinate investigations and other enforcement actions within Oklahoma. As part of this collaboration each agency will be responsible for designating a…

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12 Sep 2016 Employee Misclassification as Independent Contractor We Knew about the DOL and IRS Issues - Now the NLRB Says it May be an Unfair Labor Practice

  As we have noted in prior blog posts, the Department of Labor (DOL) has increasingly taken the position that employers more often than not are misclassifying statutory “employees” as independent contractors. Misclassifications such as this can result in back-pay, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees for individuals as well as potential civil penalties. This is in addition to the IRS penalties that may be imposed for failing to pay back payroll taxes for individuals who are actually employees and not independent contractors. As noted on…

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04 Dec 2015 Wage Wars: The Plaintiff’s Bar Awakens

2015 has been a banner year for wage & hour litigation. Roughly 9,000 new federal wage & hour lawsuits were filed as of Sept. 30 – with many thousands more filed in state courts. New federal filings have increased about 450 percent over the last 15 years, according to a recent study by Seyfarth Shaw. What’s more, the trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.   The problems for employers are at least threefold:   1). Wage & hour issues can be extremely…

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13 Mar 2015 Lyft is Facing the Ride of Its Life

  Earlier this week, a California federal judge reasoned the test in the state’s court by determining a jury must decide whether Lyft drivers are independent contractors or if they should get the same benefits as full-fledged employees in the state of California.   In September 2014, driver Patrick Cotter brought suit against Lyft, known for its cars adorned with pink mustaches. Lyft, like Uber, fashions itself as an economical app based rideshare program — meaning it does not directly employ drivers, but rather helps…

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18 Dec 2014 Uber Argues That Its Drivers Are Not Employees

In a case pending in California federal court, Uber is arguing that its drivers are not employees. O’Connor et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc. et al., No. 3:13-cv-03826 (N.D. Cal. filed Aug. 16, 2013). Uber drivers have sued the company in a putative class action that alleges that they were short-changed because they received only a portion of the 20 percent gratuity paid by passengers.   In response, Uber recently filed a motion for summary judgment that argued that its drivers are not employees because…

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20 Nov 2013 Contractor Misclassification Is Back On The Agenda

Most employers that utilize independent contractors know that the classification of workers as “contractors” has been subject to considerable scrutiny over the last few years. At least as far back as 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama sponsored the Independent Contractor Proper Classification Act.  The Senator’s proposed law would have eliminated a 1978 tax code provision that provides a safe harbor to employers that misclassify workers based on commonplace “industry practice.” Further, it would have required employers to notify contractors (a) about their tax obligations; (b) that labor and…

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28 Sep 2012 Federal Court In Washington Rules That Sales Agent Is A Contractor, Not An Employee

Earlier this week the Western District of Washington provided a succinct illustration of the difference between independent contractors and employees. In Daskam v. Allstate (Case No. C11-0131RSL), the court shot down an FLSA claim by an Allstate sales agent who alleged that he had been misclassified as a contractor, and in reality, should have been treated as an employee entitled to overtime wage benefits. The sales agent built his case around the fact that he had a long-term relationship with Allstate and that the company…

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