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.
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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.
Commercial

565 4th St. Construction Gives Rise to Suit

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Hair Shop, LLC is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Shun Construction, Inc. and Patrick Lin. The core of the beef is that the defendants failed to improve the space as promised, but the killer allegation, if true, is that Shun Construction was not licensed at the time the work was being done.

The Business and Professions Code says that one need not pay for work done by unlicensed contractors. It doesn’t matter if you know that they are unlicensed. You can hire an unlicensed person and not pay them and/or get your money back.

This seems unfair to unlicensed contractors who do good work but the Legislature thinks rewarding licensed contractors and punishing unlicensed ones is more important.

Hiring unlicensed contractors is not without risk, however. Not only are unlicensed contractors unable to secure proper permits, they can also get injured and/or otherwise claim that they are your employee. Labor Code section 2750.5 makes unlicensed workers your employees for all purposes. To make things even more complicated, employees are exempt from the Business and Professions Code licensing requirements. Case law discussing both regulatory schemes, subcontractor’s and subcontractor’s workers complicate matters further.

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.