Our firm received an order from a federal district court recently conditionally certifying a nationwide collective action against West Telemarketing. Roman Shaul is the lawyer in our firm who is heading up this litigation. The lawsuit was filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and alleges that West Telemarketing had a corporate policy of not paying certain telemarketers for their training time. The complaint also faults the company for not paying the class members overtime and in many instances, not paying the monetary equivalent of the federal minimum wage. The putative class contains a little over 31,000 present and former employees.
The gist of the lawsuit is that the Plaintiffs are treated as independent contractors and not employees. Individuals who are true independent contractors are not protected under the FLSA. Yet, the Plaintiffs really are employees since the company controls almost every aspect of their job.
The intentional misclassification of employees has been a hot topic in Washington D.C. lately and Congress has scheduled a number of hearings on this issue. Many companies intentionally misclassify their employees as “independent contractors” so they can avoid paying any benefits, avoid paying payroll taxes, workers’ compensation premiums and other obligations that traditionally fall on legitimate employers.
Shortly after we filed this lawsuit, West Telemarketing changed the very corporate practice for which our client sued them. We hope that this change in policy has benefited many of the hard working individuals still employed there. We are equally hopeful that many of the former employees will get compensated for all the hard work they have already performed.
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