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Judge orders enforcement of US Labor Department subpoena to Connecticut employer
Date of action: Sept. 18, 2015
Type of action: Ruling on petition for enforcement of subpoena
Name(s) of defendant: LaserShip, Inc., dba LaserShip
Allegations: The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division began an investigation of the Meriden, Connecticut, location of LaserShip, Inc., a nationwide delivery service, in early 2014. The division sought to determine whether LaserShip's delivery drivers in Connecticut are independent contractors, as LaserShip claims, or employees who are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The division requested documents from the company that included drivers' names, addresses and telephone numbers, so the division could contact them as part of the investigation. The company repeatedly refused to supply drivers' cell phone numbers.
The Labor Department served LaserShip with an administrative subpoena on February 11, 2015, seeking that information. LaserShip objected to the subpoena and the Labor Department then petitioned the U.S. District Court on March 31 for a judicial order enforcing the subpoena and requiring LaserShip's compliance.
Resolution: The court has ordered LaserShip to fully comply with the subpoena, provide the requested information to the Wage and Hour Division and submit proof it has done so with the court. The order also requires LaserShip to pay the Labor Department's reasonable costs and attorneys' fees involved in bringing the petition.
"In order to make a determination as to whether these workers are employees or independent contractors, we need to conduct a thorough investigation. This ruling will assist us in gathering the facts necessary to accurately determine the workers' status," said David Gerrain, the Wage and Hour Division's district director for Connecticut and Rhode Island.
"A company's refusal to provide the Wage and Hour Division access to information it requires to properly conduct its investigation cannot go unanswered. If necessary, as it was here, the Office of the Solicitor will seek court intervention to assist the division in its pursuit of the facts," said Merle Hyman, Wage and Hour Counsel for the department's office of the regional Solicitor of Labor for New England.
In response to the court's order, LaserShip has now provided its drivers' telephone numbers to the division.
Senior Trial Attorney Susan Salzberg and Trial Attorney Mark Pedulla of the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston litigated the matter on behalf of the Secretary.
Court: U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
Docket Number: 3:15-mc-00031 (CSH)