A group of satellite television technicians plausibly alleged that DIRECTV LLC and one of its prime contractors are liable as joint employers for their Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime claims, according to a federal district court in Illinois.
The federal court — in denying motions to dismiss filed by DIRECTV and DirectSat USA LLC — found that the workers sufficiently alleged that the companies had some control over hiring and firing and exerted substantial control over work schedules and employment conditions.
The ruling contrasts with a previous decision by the same federal court last year in which the court held that another group of technicians failed to plausibly allege that DIRECTV and DirectSat were joint employers, showing that the joint employment inquiry under FLSA fact-specific.
Control Over Hiring, Termination and Scheduling
With respect to control over hiring and firing, the federal court stated that the technicians claimed although the companies did not directly accept applications or conduct interviews, they nevertheless authorized subcontractors to hire technicians only when they met DIRECTV’s non-discretionary pre-hire conditions.
Those conditions included completing certain training and passing criminal history and drug screenings. The workers also claimed that the companies retained the ultimate and unilateral authority to terminate their employment by de-authorizing their technician ID number and prohibiting them from continuing to receive work orders. Therefore, the court concluded that the technicians sufficiently pled that DIRECTV and DirectSat had influence over the hiring and firing process.
Additionally, the technicians sufficiently alleged that the companies used an online scheduling and management system to assign them work orders and monitor and track them.
They also claimed that the companies evaluated their work and demanded improvement where necessary, as well as required them to wear uniforms and drive branded vehicles.
Joint Employment Under FLSA
FLSA is meant to prevent employers from avoiding responsibility with its wage and overtime requirements by using third-party operations. Thus, courts look at the economic realities of the employment relationship when determining whether an employer is a joint employer under FLSA.
In doing so, courts apply a number of factors to determine whether a worker is economically dependent on a purported employer and is thus engaged in an employment relationship. Some of these factors include whether the employer has the power to direct, control, or supervise the worker or the work performed, whether an employer has the power to hire or fire, modify the employment conditions, or determine the pay rates.
If an employer is considered a joint employer of a worker under FLSA, then the employer must comply with FLSA’s overtime and minimum wage requirements.
You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you believe that your joint employers have deprived you of your wage rights under FLSA.
Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your joint employers.
There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.