Various state and federal laws exist to protect employers from taking advantage of their workers, but those protections don’t extend to independent contractors. Employers don’t have to pay their freelancers health insurance or social security, so hiring independent contractors is an effective way for companies to keep their labor costs down.
However, employees have specific requirements they must meet in order to qualify as independent contractors. These requirements include being able to make their own hours, wear what they want, and determine the environment they work in. They can also bring on other employees if they feel the need to do so, but workers at Handy were allegedly not allowed any of these things.
According to a recent class action lawsuit filed in California, Handy, the “handyman” and cleaning startup, allegedly hired independent contractors as cleaners. However, Handy allegedly had an extensive list of requirements for how the cleaners were to clean, interact with customers, what cleaning products they could use, whether they could listen to music while working, and when they could go to the bathroom. Handy cleaners were allegedly even told what to wear and were instructed to always wear clothing with the Handy logo on it.
Despite this long list of very specific requirements, Handy allegedly failed to pay its cleaners minimum wage for all time worked and overtime compensation, despite the fact that the cleaners allegedly regularly worked overtime. The lawsuit also alleges Handy failed to provide workers with all of the tips they earned.
Under California labor law, employers are required to provide all hourly workers with a paid rest break lasting at least 10 minutes for every four hours worked. For every five hours worked, employers are required to provide an unpaid meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day that one of these breaks is missed, for any reason, employers are required to pay workers one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day. According to the wage and hour lawsuit, Handy allegedly failed to provide its cleaners with these breaks or the requisite compensation for missed breaks.
California labor law also has strict requirements for employers to pay all wages owed to a worker within 72 hours of termination of that worker’s employment. If the worker provides notice of her termination at least 72 hours in advance, then all wages are due to her upon termination. According to the lawsuit, Handy allegedly failed to provide employees with all of the wages they had earned in a timely manner after termination of employment.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide all workers with accurate, itemized wage statements. These statements must include the employee’s hourly rate or salary, number of hours worked, and all deductions made from the employee’s pay, such as taxes and health insurance. According to the lawsuit, Handy allegedly failed to provide these itemized wage statements to its cleaners.
Some courts impose much harsher fines on companies that are found guilty of willfully and intentionally violating the FLSA. Most courts consider failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements acceptable proof that the law was violated willfully and intentionally.
The lawsuit was filed by two former Handy employees and, with the long list of alleged violations, they are asking for up to $4,000 in damages to each of Handy’s California employees.The attorneys at Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience litigating wage and hour cases, including overtime, vacation pay, meal breaks, and tips. We have offices conveniently located in Oak Brook and Chicago, Illinois. Contact the Aurora and Evanston overtime and class action lawyers and attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center today at 312-869-4095. We are looking to represent loan and mortgage brokers who have not been paid overtime and have been mis-classified as managers.