NEWARK — A group of technicians filed a class action suit against DirecTV alleging that the company violated their wage rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many of the technicians in this class suit had initially unsuccessfully sued the company in an earlier class suit in 2010. The plaintiffs also tried to consolidate the various suits filed across the country against DirecTV, but their efforts also failed. In response, DirecTV asked the federal court to dismiss the claim because the plaintiffs were a group of independent contractors and not employees covered by FLSA.
Technicians Claim Employee Status
According to the suit, DirecTV and its network of home service providers operated a “fissured employment scheme” that mandated its contractors to follow uniform company policies, thereby making them employees under FLSA. However, the company stated that these assertions were simply generic claims and unfounded legal arguments without the minimal facts necessary to state a claim for relief under FLSA. The suit apparently never went beyond reciting legal standards in the law without stating concrete, specific allegations.
According to DirecTV, the technicians merely provided a copy of their service providers’ contracts with DirecTV, which was not enough to show that they had an employment relationship with the company. Additionally, the technicians claimed that they worked more than forty hours a week, but DirecTV responded that they failed to provide any examples.
Department of Labor Guidance on Employee Status
The U.S. Department of Labor states that the “economic realities” test should be used to determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor under FLSA. This test is used to determine whether a worker is economically dependent on the employer or is really in the business for him or herself. A worker who is economically dependent on an employer is considered an employee under FLSA. Notably, the DOL’s application of the test is expansive and weighs heavily in favor of classification of workers as employees. Under this test, an agreement between an employer and a worker designating or labeling the worker as an independent contractor is not indicative of the economic realities of the working relationship and is not relevant to the analysis of the worker’s status.
Employee misclassification remains an important issue that leaves many workers without the valuable wage protections of FLSA. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel your employee wage rights have been violated because you have been misclassified as an independent contractor. 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 employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.