Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
Kansas flooring company misclassifies installers as independent contractors, to pay nearly $160K in back wages, damages to 22 workers
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – An Overland Park flooring company that misclassified installers as independent contractors will pay 22 workers a total of $159,144 – representing $79,572 in back wages plus an equal amount in liquidated damages – after a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation.
The division found Uni Floor Inc. violated overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act when it failed to pay installers overtime after treating them as independent contractors instead of employees.
The investigation determined the flooring installers met the definition of employees, triggering overtime protections under the FLSA. The company violated the FLSA’s recordkeeping requirements when it failed to maintain time records for these employees. In this case, Uni Floor provided the equipment used by the workers, controlled their day-to-day schedules and paid them flat salaries. The employer also bid for all work and supervised job sites daily.
“Far too often, employers misclassify workers as independent contractors when the law defines them as employees. In this case, Uni Floor denied workers overtime for hours worked over 40 per week and access to employee benefits, unemployment insurance and the payment of federal and state taxes on the worker’s behalf,” said Brad Bobowski, acting district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Kansas City. “We are committed to rooting out misclassification and, as this case shows, will take enforcement actions needed to achieve that goal.”
A misclassified employee – with independent contractor or other non-employee status – loses minimum wage, overtime, workers compensation, unemployment insurance and other workplace protections. Employers often misclassify workers to reduce labor costs and avoid employment taxes. By not complying with the law, these employers have an unfair advantage over competitors who pay fair wages, taxes due, and ensure wage and other protections for their employees. These illegal practices lower standards for all workers, especially in highly competitive markets and industries where employers try to reduce overhead, often at the expense of their workers.
The division has aggressively expanded its efforts to combat employee misclassification in sectors where workers are especially vulnerable and violations are rampant. To assist in combating the problem, the department has entered into agreements with more than 30 states to share information and to coordinate enforcement efforts. The department also engages in a robust education and outreach, and works with employers and other stakeholders to change behavior at the industry level.
For more information about the FLSA, visit https://www.dol.gov/whd or call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).