“Wage Theft” by misclassification- independent contractors and interns

Worker misclassification has become perhaps the most widespread way employers are cheating employees out of money they are entitled; otherwise known as “wage theft”.

Construction companies, strip clubs, delivery services, music industry, movie studios, fashion designers, and most recently employers in the “shared economy” such as Uber and Lyft have found themselves in trouble for misclassifying their employees as “independent contractors” or “interns”

Uber and Lyft claim they are a technology service, their only business is connecting customers with contractors providing a certain service; however it certainly appears Uber and Lyft are  car services, not technology services. If these companies provide a service and have folks they employ to provide these services, they owe these employees minimum wage and overtime. You can learn more about worker misclassification as it relates to independent contractors here.

Often in industries viewed as “glamorous”- such as the movie or music industry- employers will improperly classify workers as “interns”. Employers claim the individual is receiving valuable work/educational experience which is more valuable to the “intern” than the employer. In reality, these folks are picking up dry cleaning, cleaning offices, running cash registers or other tasks the company would normally have to pay someone to do. These activities clearly benefit the employer more than the employee; these folks are entitled to minimum wage and overtime.

The bottom line is, lots of employers are trying to avoid their legal obligations by misclassifying employees. The benefit to the company for misclassifying these workers is clear; as independent contractors or interns employees are not entitled to minimum wage or overtime, unemployment benefits, workers compensation benefits, etc.

Recent lawsuits have been filed against major employers such as NBCWarner Music Group, Atlantic Records, Grub Hub, Amazon, Uber, Lyft, Fed Ex, Michael Kors, Versace, etc. all claiming worker misclassification.

We handle cases of worker misclassification on a daily basis and would be glad to review your case for no charge. Feel free to contact our Tennessee Employment Law Office and we will be glad to answer any questions you may have.

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