In order to pursue any claim for unpaid overtime wages, workers first need to know they have a right to legal representation and a right to be compensated for all hours worked. In cases where the employer has illegally treated employees as “Independent Contractors” just to avoid paying overtime, large groups of people can be denied fair wages based on a single illegal labor misclassification. In a fair labor standards act collective action, as these cases are called, getting the message to misclassified independent contractors is the first hurdle in every case. The ongoing FLSA lawsuit brought by Nacht Law Firm and co-counsel at Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC on behalf of a group of cable installers against GAB presented one such challenge.
In a recent order issued by the Eastern District of Michigan, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan gave the green light for plaintiff’s attorneys David Blanchard and Harold Lichten to notify potential claimants of their right to represented in the unpaid overtime claims against cable installment company GAB. The company provides cable installment services in southeast Michigan for cable provider WOW and others, and they are alleged to have underpaid their cable installers by misclassifying them as independent contractors.
The “initial certification” Order from Judge Gershwin Drain in the Eastern District of Michigan is just one of a line of hard-fought cases to establish the right of cable installers for their right to be paid for all hours worked and time and a half for overtime. This fundamental principle of labor law is routinely violated across Michigan and across the country by companies that put profits ahead of wage and hour compliance in an effort to skirt to the law for an extra dollar.
In another pending cable installer collective action brought by Nacht Law and the Lichten & Liss-Riordan Firm, the District Court has ruled that the single collective action plaintiff must present additional proof of widespread misclassification at southeast Michigan cable installer AmComm before conditional certification and the right to notify workers. Collecting additional proof of misclassification means additional time lost and some potential plaintiffs without knowledge of the case can lose their right to join altogether.
Although it is only the first step in a FLSA case, conditional certification is an essential first step. Misclassified employees who are cheated out of their minimum wages or overtime pay have a right to know they can be represented. The wage and hour lawyers at Nacht, Roumel & Walker, PC are continuously engaged in this fight to advise Michigan employees of their right to be represented and to be paid for all hours worked. For updates on the GAB or AmComm cable installer cases, or for information on how to join, contact plaintiff’s attorney David Blanchard.