Most employers in San Diego understand that they must pay employees in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal statute that requires employers to pay overtime for work in excess of 40 hours per week. Unfortunately, many employers attempt to circumvent the law by improperly classifying their employees. The United States Department of Labor recently announced that two Thai massage parlors in San Diego violated the statute by misclassifying their employees.
The Fair Labor Standards Act defines a number of positions that are exempt from the mandatory overtime requirements. Two types of exempt positions are management employees and independent contractors. Many employers believe that they have the power to classify employees in whatever manner they please and that they can place employees in exempt positions without penalty. The recent Labor Department announcement reveals the error in this assumption.
The owners of the two massage parlors improperly classified 17 employees as independent contractors. The Wage and Hour Division of the Labor Department investigated this practice and concluded that those classified as independent contractors were instead wage-earning employees. As a result, the Labor Department imposed sanctions requiring the back pay in the amount of $46,555 to one group of affected employees and $14,762 to the other group. Many employers chose to intentionally ignore the Labor Department regulation that requires employee classification to be based upon the actual duties and working conditions of the job and not on the employer’s self-serving classification.
The Fair Labor Standards Act is one of the broadest employee protection laws. Anyone who is denied overtime pay may wish to consult an experienced employment attorney for advice on the protections available under the statute. A knowledgeable employment attorney can provide helpful advice on recovering back pay and ending abusive employer practices.