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Elevations Shoring to Pay Over $430K for Employee Misclassification, Overtime Violations

April 30, 2012

Employee misclassification continues to pose a national and California workplace threat, as Vincent Howard discusses regularly in our ongoing California employment lawyers blog. When employees are misclassified as exempt, or independent contractors, as opposed to non-exempt employees, they are often denied access to their legally entitled employee benefits and protections, such as overtime compensation, minimum wage payment, family and medical leave, and unemployment insurance, among others.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) there were roughly 6,800 wage and hour violation lawsuits filed last year, and the labor department collected more than $5 million in back wages from employee misclassification--where employees were misclassified as independent contractors, resulting in violations of the overtime and minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

A recent case of employment misclassification has led to a payment of $430,956 in back wages to 186 former and current employees of Elevations Shoring LLC--after a DOL investigation uncovered that the company had violated the record-keeping and overtime provisions of the FLSA.

The DOL's Wage and Hour division (WHD) in New Orleans reportedly found that Elevations Shoring, a company employing workers who provide digging, lifting and shoring services in the New Orleans-area, misclassified workers as independent contractors, and paid them straight time for every hour worked, instead of overtime payment.

The company was also found to have kept two different sets of payroll records--one that listed twenty workers as regular employees who worked forty hours each week, and another payroll record that listed the same employees as independent contractors for the extra hours worked, issuing a separate check for the additional hours. The company's remaining 166 employees were reportedly classified as independent contractors and paid accordingly for all of their work hours. Elevation Shoring was also accused of failing to maintain accurate time and payroll records--because they did not record the actual hours worked by the misclassified workers and all of their pay rates, instead only recording the weekly wage summaries and the employee's most recent hourly pay rates.

As Vincent Howard frequently reports, employee misclassification continues to be a problematic workplace trend, especially in low-industries employing vulnerable workers who are often unaware of their legal rights, deprived of overtime and minimum wage benefits and forced to pay taxes that should be paid by their employers, under law.

If you or someone you know have experienced overtime and minimum wage violations in Orange County, California, contact Vincent Howard and our employment attorneys at Howard Law, PC today for a free consultation about your labor and employment rights.

Elevations Shoring in Kenner, La., agrees to pay nearly $431,000 in overtime back wages following US Labor Department investigation, The U.S. Department of Labor, April 19, 2012

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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