Many of the violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) investigated by the federal government involve wage and misclassification regulations. Take a Massachusetts case involving a courier service that was settled late last month.
The company was accused of misclassifying employees who worked as drivers for its Shrewsbury facility as independent contractors. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) investigation revealed that:
- Drivers were paid per delivery rather than by the hour.
- They had to pay for gas and maintenance of their vehicles themselves.
- Their employer, USPack Logistics LLC, made illegal deductions from their paychecks.
- They weren’t paid overtime as required when they worked more than 40 hours a week.
All of this brought their hourly pay to under the federal hourly minimum of $7.25 and denied them the time-and-a-half rate they were required to receive for overtime hours.
Company to pay over half million to drivers
Late last month, a consent judgment was issued in federal court in which the company and its chief operating officer agreed to pay $575,000 in back wages and damages to over 60 drivers. They also agreed to ensure that it all of its locations would comply with all provisions of the FLSA.
One DOL official in Boston noted the importance of properly classifying workers as employees because “those workers receive all the wages and protection to which they are legally entitled.” Another noted, “The U.S. Department of Labor takes very seriously the issue of misclassification because it can function to exclude employees from the scope of the law’s protections.”
Often these federal investigations begin because one or two people took the initiative to speak out about their unfair labor practices. Otherwise, these violations can continue for years on end. If you believe that your employer is violating the FLSA or other federal, state or local employment laws, the best thing you can do is seek legal guidance.