On March 11, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California handed down opinions in Cotter v. Lyft, Inc., and O’Connor v. Uber Technologies, Inc. The opinions, which represent at least a temporary win for the drivers who brought suit, highlight the ever-increasing difficulties relating to the classification of employees pursuant to wage and hour law. The two class actions by current and former drivers for Lyft and Uber allege that the companies inappropriately classify them as independent contractors rather than employees. The courts denied motions by Uber and Lyft to have the cases thrown out of court, ruling that whether the drivers must be considered employees by law is a question of fact to be resolved at trial.
The opinions determined that Uber and Lyft are transportation companies and not simply intermediaries between drivers and their customers. The courts relied on the fact that the companies depend entirely on fees from those transportation services for their revenue, exercise control over interactions between drivers and customers, and sell themselves as transportation companies that serve as alternatives to taxi cabs. [click to continue…]
The most recent in a string of such lawsuits, a former Marc Jacobs intern has initiated a class action lawsuit against the fashion designer for failing to pay interns proper minimum wage and overtime wage rates. Plaintiff Linney Warren sued Marc Jacobs alleging that she often worked 70-hour weeks in May, fetching coffee, moving raw materials between studios, sorting fabrics, fixing patterns, and sewing. Other companies recently hit with similar lawsuits include Fox Entertainment, Lions Gate Entertainment, Coach, and more.
Altogether failing to pay interns who are not receiving legitimate academic or vocational training is an unfair wage practice. Similarly, failing to give paid interns appropriate minimum wage rates and overtime wage rates violates the Fair Labor Standards Act and comparable state legislation. In addition to exposing employers to liability, these practices take advantage of young people who don’t fully understand wage and hour law and who are working hard in the infancy of their careers.
Lessors, Inc. is a national trucking company based in Eagan, Minnesota. On October 16, 2013, on behalf of current and former Lessors employees, Madia Law filed a class and collective action wage and hour lawsuit against Lessors in United States District Court. The plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and other employees, allege that Lessors has purposely denied employees overtime pay.
The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act both require higher wage rates for hours worked over 40 and 48, respectively. Although there are exceptions to these rules, Plaintiffs allege that Lessors has purposefully misclassified them and other employees as falling under such an exception in order to avoid paying them the overtime wage rates for which they are entitled. The following is a summary of the allegations in the Complaint, which is titled Luis Felix, Donald Knutson, and Juan Vazquez-Perez, individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated individuals and the Proposed Minnesota Rule 23 Class, Case No. 13-CV-2854 (DWF/JJG). [click to continue…]
Madia Law filed a class and collective action lawsuit in February against Regency Beauty Institute (a national for-profit cosmetology school) on behalf of current and former employees in Regency’s Admissions Department seeking unpaid overtime wages. On July 15, U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank granted Plaintiffs’ Motion for Conditional Class Certification.
The five named plaintiffs in the suit worked as Admissions Representatives at Regency; their job was to make phone calls to prospective students regarding Regency and attempt to enroll them in the school. They allege that they were not properly paid overtime pay during their time at Regency and that, when they raised the issue with Regency leadership, they were told not to pursue the issue or “burn bridges.” The lawsuit is described in detail here. Since the lawsuit was filed in February, eleven additional Admissions Representatives have joined.
The Court’s decision allows Plaintiffs to notify – through a Court authorized notice – all potential class members of the existence of the lawsuit and their ability to participate. Additionally, the Court’s decision mandates that Regency post notice of the lawsuit at its workplace so that current employees may also make informed decisions regarding participation in the suit.
A bipartisan unanimous vote by the Minnesota House of Representatives and a near unanimous vote by the Minnesota Senate resulted in a major victory for employees. The recent amendments to the Minnesota Payment of Wages Act, signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton, clarified the ability of employees to recover unpaid wages. The amendments help to protect employees’ rights all throughout Minnesota.
The Minnesota Payment of Wages Act previously stated “When any employer employing labor within this state discharges an employee, his wages or commissions actually earned and unpaid at the time of the discharge are immediately due and payable upon demand of the employee.” The statute, on its face, appeared to safeguard the rights of employees by protecting their wages even after they are discharged. A narrow reading of the statute by the Minnesota Supreme Court caused the Minnesota Legislature to expand upon the Act. [click to continue…]
Madia Law represented “Laura” – a physician’s assistant who was hired by a medical clinic that found Laura through a recruiting agency. After hiring Laura, the clinic began making deductions from her checks to cover the “recruitment fee” that it paid the agency to find Laura. In total, the clinic deducted close to $30,000 from Laura’s wages to recover its recruitment costs.
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One of Minnesota’s largest law firms filed a class action lawsuit against a Minneapolis small business, alleging violations of the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act and Payment of Wages Act. The firm sought over $2,000,000 in damages and refused to settle for anything less, apparently hoping that the costs of litigation would force the small business to settle the case.
No such luck. Madia Law represented the business and, after a two week jury trial in Hennepin County District Court, the jury ruled against the firm on three out of five claims and awarded a verdict of just over $15,000.
Please note that every case is different, with its own unique facts. Just because Madia Law achieved a certain result in this case does not mean that you will obtain the same result in your case. You should contact Madia Law to discuss your business litigation case in detail and get an accurate assessment of its value.