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Employee or contractor: mix-up leads to wage and hour violations

Bay Area employees work hard each day to earn an honest living. In uncertain economic times, finding full-time employment can be a dream come true. Unfortunately, sometimes, an employee may become the victim of wage and hour violations at his or her place of work. 

Recently, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that a delivery company that operates in several states had classified some of its couriers as independent contractors, rather than employees. Independent contractors are usually responsible for providing their own materials and covering expenses, such as gas, while on the job. Independent contractors are taxed differently than traditional employees. However, the couriers in question should have been treated as employees, as they did not meet the criteria to be considered independent contractors. 

This mistake on the part of the employer resulted in the couriers making less than minimum wage, considering they were paying expenses they were not actually responsible for out of their own earnings. The Department of Labor decided that the employer must pay the victimized employees damages and compensation, to the tune of about $600,000. They were also cited for improper record keeping. 

If a Bay Area employee suspects that he or she may be the victim of wage and hour violations, he or she may be nervous at the prospect of facing his or her employer in a court of law. Often, victims choose to seek legal aid from an attorney who is experienced in employment law. An attorney can help a client become familiar with the legal process necessary to hold an employer accountable for the wrongdoing, and help the victim collect any monetary damages or compensation to which he or she may be entitled by law.