One of the areas that creates a significant amount of confusion – and litigation – in employment law is the issue of misclassification. Misclassification refers to the practice of identifying workers who should be considered “employees” as “independent contractors” and thus denying them the benefits they deserve pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
If you have questions about your classification, or believe that you may have been improperly designated as an independent contractor, it is important to consult with an Atlanta wage and hour lawyer right away. Misclassification errors can be costly, denying you the compensation – including overtime pay – that you deserve.
A recent Pennsylvania case involving these issues just settled for $905,000. The lawsuit was filed by delivery drivers who claimed that Bimbo Bakeries violated the FLSA by misclassifying them as independent contractors rather than employees. As part of the settlement fees, current drivers will receive $900 each. Former drivers will receive $450.
According to the wage and hour lawsuit, Bimbo Bakers, which makes Thomas’ English Muffins, Entenmann’s baked goods and a variety of other popular products, improperly classifies its delivery drivers as independent contractors under an “unlawful and unconscionable” distribution agreement. The delivery drivers included several allegations of misconduct and asserted that Bimbo micromanaged the distributors and treated them in every sense as employees. Despite the control Bimbo asserted over the drivers, according to the lawsuit, it classified them as independent operators to avoid business expenses and shifted costs onto its employees. Some of the “lopsided” requirements included ordering that drivers pay for certain distribution rights, but then mandated that the drivers grant Bimbo ownership of those rights. According to the complaint, Bimbo would also deduct costs from the workers’ wages such as truck lease payments, fuel costs, payments for computer equipment, and insurance.
Additionally, the drivers alleged that Bimbo knew that under the law, their delivery drivers were rightly classified as employees but have misclassified them as “part of a scheme … to deny them the benefits, rights and privileges owed to employees.” 707 workers were included in the lawsuit.
For more information or if you believe you have been wrongfully classified as an independent contractor, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorneys at the Buckley Law Firm, LLC so that we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.