Companies should always be very careful to follow the laws regarding how employees are classified. The way in which employees are classified directly coincides with how they receive payment for overtime and other related compensatory payroll information. Lately, there has been a lot of buzz in California about companies that have improperly classified their workers.
A site merchandiser for magazines who worked in the Google Play division of Google claims that he was incorrectly classified as an independent contractor. When he began working for the company, he alleges that he was paid from a third party and was classified as a freelancer even though he worked in one of Google's New York offices. According to his federal lawsuit, he was only able to bill for 30 hours per week, but he worked far more.
The plaintiff claims that when he asked to be paid for the additional hours that he worked, he was turned down. He also asserts that he was not given overtime when he worked more than 40 hours in a week. To combat this issue, the plaintiff contends that he requested that his contract encompass more hours so that he could be compensated properly. In response, Google allegedly ended his contract. Class action status has been sought to encompass other affected employees.
It is in the best interest of all workers to become aware of their rights under the law so that they receive proper payment for the hours they work. Those that feel that they have been short-changed may choose to take legal action against their employer. In a successfully navigated claim, the California worker may receive the lost wages he or she is owed as well possibly cause that class of workers to be reclassified in compliance with the respective laws.
Source: Reuters, "Google contractor accuses company of pay, overtime violations in lawsuit", Dan Levine, Nov. 13, 2014