DOL Obtains Judgment Requiring Florida Contractor To Pay Nearly $120,000 In Back Wages To Security Guards Misclassified As Independent Contractors
On December 21st, 2022, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced successful enforcement action in a wage and hour case. The agency obtained a $117,880 judgment against a Florida employer and its primary owner. The company misclassified several dozen security guards as independent contractors instead of employees. In this article, you will find a more detailed overview of the judgment secured by the DOL as well as the importance of proper worker classification in Florida.
Federal Court Judgement: Florida Employer Improperly Classified Security Guards
The DOL confirms a successful court judgment in the enforcement action taken against Freeman Security Services Inc. and its owner, Darren Freeman. Freeman Security Services Inc. is a security services company based in Central Florida. According to the ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the company improperly misclassified at least 76 security guards as independent contractors. As a consequence of the misclassification, these workers were denied key wage and hour benefits that were due to them under the law.
Perhaps most notably, the employer paid all affected security guards straight-time wages regardless of the total number of hours that they worked. In total, the employer has been ordered to pay $117,880 in back wages as well as liquidated damages. In announcing the enforcement action, the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL emphasized that overtime violations, minimum wage violations, and misclassification of employees all remain significant areas of concern for the federal agency.
A Misclassified Employee May Be Denied Overtime Pay and Other Key Benefits
Proper classification of employees is essential because it determines whether an employee is entitled to certain benefits, such as overtime pay, minimum wage, and other protections under labor laws. An employer in Florida does not have a unilateral right to simply decide who is an independent contractor and who is an employee. There are strict rules and regulations in place based on the individual workers’ actual duties, their responsibilities, and employer control over how they do their job.
Worker misclassification is far more than merely a theoretical or technical violation. It matters. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)—the federal law that protects the rights of non-exempt workers to receive overtime pay and all workers to receive a minimum wage—only applies to those classified as an employee. The law does not apply to independent contractors. If you believe that you were denied wages or benefits due to misclassification as an independent contractor, a lawyer can help.
Get Help From a Florida Wage and Hour Claims Attorney Today
An employee who has been misclassified as an independent contractor may miss out on key wages and/or benefits that are due to them under the law. If you believe that you or your family member was misclassified as an independent contractor in Florida, a wage and hour lawyer can help.