The wage and hour attorneys at Morgan and Morgan are pleased to announce that an arbitrator has ruled in favor of their client, Rodney Schatt, in determining that he was misclassified as an independent contractor by Aventura Limousine and Transportation Service, Inc. Despite having been sued on a number of prior occasions in federal court, this is the first time that Aventura litigated one of these claims on their merits as the company had settled all the prior matters before a determination could be made within the courts.
Mr. Schatt’s case was brought before the American Arbitration Association to determine whether he should have been classified as an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and not an independent contractor. After hearing all the facts of the case, the arbitrator sided with Mr. Schatt, ruling that Aventura Limousine was responsible for three years of unpaid overtime wages
as well as an equal amount in damages as a result of the misclassification and the company’s failure to act in good faith.
Mr. Schatt worked for Aventura from 2003 until July 2010 as what Aventura called an “independent contractor” or “independent operator” chauffeur. While Aventura did not keep any time records to determine hours worked by the claimant, it did not dispute that Mr. Schatt had worked long hours during his tenure. Mr. Schatt and other witnesses estimated he worked more than 70 hours a week while driving the company’s vehicle and the company admitted that no overtime compensation was ever paid out.
In making her determination that Mr. Schatt should have been classified as an employee under the FLSA, the arbitrator used the “economic realities test.” This test focuses not on what the company called Mr. Schatt but on six factors which distinguish whether an individual should be classified as an employee or independent contractor. This is because what an employer calls an employee is not determinative of the relationship. The ultimate concern is whether, as a matter of economic reality, the employee depends on the employer’s business for the opportunity to render service. The arbitrator found that each and every one of these six factors of this test weighed in favor of Mr. Schatt, who was found to be an employee under the FLSA and therefore entitled to overtime for hours worked over 40 in a single workweek.
Situations like Mr. Schatt’s are one of the most common violations of overtime law
. Many employers misclassify their workers as independent contractors and fails to provide time-and-a-half wages for the employee’s overtime hours. In fact, Aventura is currently facing a pending class action suit on this same issue. If you suspect you have been misclassified as an independent contractor or otherwise subjected to violations of wage and hour law, please visit www.usovertimelawyers.com
for a free case review.
About Morgan and Morgan
The employment law division at Morgan and Morgan is dedicated to protecting the rights afforded to employees under state and federal labor laws. The attorneys within this department handle cases involving unpaid overtime, minimum wage violations, sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. If you suspect your employment rights have been violated, visit USOvertimeLawyers.com or ForThePeople.com today for a free case evaluation and information on your legal rights.