Wage and Hour

Security Guard Firms Targeted in Wage and Hour Suits

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Within the last six months, three lawsuits have been filed by three different plaintiff’s lawyers against two security guard companies, all alleging the guards are misclassified as independent contractors among other wage and hour violations. Braavos Inc. dba Bannerman was sued last year and again in February. Cypress Security was sued in March.

The test for whether a worker is an employee and/or an independent contractor largely depends on the level of control. Assuming these security guards had to show up for shifts, and had specific job duties while on their shift, these guard companies may have a hard time proving that the workers were contractors.

Other factors considered include whether the worker was paid for their time or by job, if the worker had a business name and other client-employers, and if the rate paid was fixed or subject to negotiation.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are  based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm,Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
Advertisements
Wage and Hour

MetLife Alleged to Be Misclassifying Financial Services Representatives

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Lawyers in San Diego, Oakland and San Mateo have joined forces to file a class action alleging Metlife misclassifies financial service representatives as independent contractors. The suit seeks reimbursement of deductions from paychecks and reimbursement of expenses, among other things.

For decades, the insurance industry has classified workers as independent contractors. Agents and district managers have sued and, at least in some instances, have little to show for it.

Misclassification is the wage and hour case du jour. While insurance agents and/or there financial services counterparts are going to be controlled to some degree by the company, their cases don’t fly.

Though it’s not clear why the cases don’t make it, it may be for a reason the court is not keen to admit. In short, the equities are not there. Wage and hour laws are meant to protect the downtrodden. The original case outlining the control test involved sharecroppers. When professionals claim misclassification, the story loses its luster. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are  based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm,Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
Wage and Hour

Scam Alert: The One-Day Hire That Turns Into 30

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Did you ever think you might, one day, feel bad for Uber?

In reviewing new case filings, we noticed a series of lawsuits brought by the same plaintiff alleging she, a model, was hired for a one-day photo shoot and not timely paid, triggering penalties under the Labor Code.

Just in the last month (Jan. ’18), plaintiff Molly Kucera has sued Ross, Uber and Cuyana making this claim. The allegations are largely the same in each case. The model was “employed” for a day at a rate of $600 (the amount changes). Under the Labor Code, employees are to get paid upon discharge and plaintiff wasn’t, triggering a penalty of thirty times. $600 becomes $18,000, by example.

Conspicuously left out of the complaint (against Ross, at least) was the understanding of the parties going into the gig, as to whether the model was ok being treated as an employee vs. an independent contractor. There are allegations that Ross controlled her work. Control is the leading, albeit not the only, factor in the test to determine if someone is an employee or contractor. But, there still may be a fraud going on. In all likelihood, the defendants believed they were hiring a contractor and were duped.

The attorney making these claims for Kucera is Roger Muse, a Beverly Hills lawyer who filed many similar suits in Kucera’s and other’s names last year. It’s arguably a racket. The models get hired. He sues. In most cases, defendants likely settle because the cost of defense is higher than the ask. The Labor Code provides for the recovery of attorney’s fees though, so Muse might figure if they fight, that is fine too. A smart defense move might be to counter sue for fraud, adding Muse as a conspirator. The cross-complaint would have to be appropriately worded to avoid an Anti-SLAPP motion.

A sarcastic thank you to Muse for this double-whammy, making lawyers and models look bad in one fell swoop.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are  based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm,Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
Wage and Hour

Brickhouse Cafe Sued for Alleged Wage and Hour Violations

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A former cook of the SOMA eatery is alleging he was paid in cash and his hourly rate trailed minimum wage in San Francisco. He further claims defendants failed to pay overtime, provide meal and rest periods and compensate for sick time, among other Labor Code violations.

Whether true or not in this case, there are employers who think it is a good idea to pay in cash. It is not. Checks provide a much better record of what was paid. Employers paying in cash almost never provide a wage statement, which the Labor Code requires. And, it looks bad, since it suggests, rightly or wrongly, an attempt to unlawfully employ an illegal immigrant and/or to evade taxes.

The case raises another interesting issue in employment law: who can be held liable for wage and hour violations. In this case, an LLC with the restaurant’s name was sued as well as an individual.

In general, California law does not impose personal liability on corporate officers or directors for wages owed by a corporate employer. Individuals are not totally off the hook, however. The Labor Code authorizes civil penalties against any employer or other person acting on behalf of an employer who causes overtime pay violations or fails to pay minimum wages. In addition, the federal FLSA expressly imposes wage claim liability on “any person” acting on behalf of the employer, including its officers and directors. Where corporate formalities are not followed, plaintiffs can pursue an alter ego theory.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are  based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm,Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
Wage and Hour

Living-On-Site Workers, Minimum Wage and Overtime

NEW YORK, NY – There is an interesting article on Law360 seen today discussing the 4th District Court of Appeal’s reversal of summary judgment in a live-in worker case, which is going to be of interest to care facilities and some hospitality businesses.

Live-in workers are at the job site 24-hours a day, working split shifts and then called on one-off jobs during their “off” time, whether it be to check-in an arriving guest or attend to a resident or clean a toilet.

The law has tried to deal with this by counting the number of hours/minutes the worker actually worked and using that to determine how many hours were worked per day,. But, that only comes into play if the employer has met technical requirements, like having a written agreement with the worker that spells out what the room and board counts for monetarily. In the case of RCFs, the situation is further complicated by state licensing requirements that require someone be on-site 24-hours a day, meaning the worker can’t leave.

The average small business RCF or hotel/motel is often not sufficiently sophisticated to set it up right, meaning the room and board is not counted, and minimum wage and overtime violations begin to rack-up.

The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
Wage and Hour

Two San Francisco Restaurants Alleged to Manipulate Time Cards

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Two restaurants got hit this past week with claims that they manipulated time cards. Complaints were filed against Burritt Room and Tavern (in the Mystic Hotel near the Stockton St. Tunnel), and against North Beach Restaurant.

In the case against Burritt Room and Tavern, three plaintiffs allege management tampered with time cards to make it look like they had taken rest and meal breaks. The changes, plaintiffs’ say, “shaved” the hours they worked.

In the case against North Beach Restaurant, a waiter alleges management used point-of-sale software to record when workers started and ended their shift but would change the time stamps.

In wage and hour cases, often the biggest exposure stems from the plaintiff’s ability to recover attorney’s fees. So even if a waiter’s meal periods and/or overtime does not add up to much, the total owed if the case went to trial could easily be six figures. Defense counsel in both cases will want to have a very quick and honest discussion with management to find out why plaintiffs are saying what they are saying. Counsel will want to assess what evidence is out there for and against. Because attorney’s fees are recoverable in these cases, if the claims are at all true, early settlement makes sense.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are  based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm,Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.