A United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour investigation into Brownlow Plastering based out of Hammond, LA found that the company violated both the record-keeping and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). During the investigation, Brownlow Plastering misclassified almost 150 workers as independent contractors rather than employees who were entitled to FLSA protections.
The company used an alleged labor broker to hire workers in order to claim that they were independent contractors in order to pay them fixed hourly rates. The Department of Labor investigation that the broker was in fact an employee of Brownlow Plastering, and both he and the workers he hired only worked for that company. This misclassification resulted in two FLSA violations, failing to pay overtime wages for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, and failing to maintain accurate weekly or daily hours worked.
Along with paying more than $365 thousand in overtime back wages to the nearly 150 employees affected by these violations, Brownlow Plastering also agreed to provide Wage and Hour information for all subcontracts going forward, provide all employees with the Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet on the employment relationship, and would train all managers and supervisors on FLSA requirements at least one per year.
The Southwest regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division Betty Campbell had this to say on the violations:
“Employees labelled incorrectly as ‘independent contractors’ do not lose their legal rights to earn overtime wages. Workers denied these rights suffer, as do their families. Misclassification also hurts law-abiding employers who must compete with employers that game the system to undercut the competition. The Wage and Hour division considers misclassification a top enforcement priority and is working alongside our state, local and federal partners to achieve greater compliance with the law.”
At Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, our Houston overtime lawyers work hard to protect and secure compensation for employees who have been exploited by their employers in order to secure fair compensation for their work. Tell us more about your case today by filling out our online form, or call us to speak with one of our overtime attorneys.