Employee Misclassification

Philadelphia Employee Misclassification Attorneys

Employee misclassification is a known problem that strips workers of certain rights and benefits they’d otherwise receive. Most often employee misclassification takes the form of improperly categorizing workers as independent contractors when they actually meet the standards of an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

The U.S. Department of Labor has taken steps to mitigate this widespread issue. In March 2021, they enacted rules revising the status of independent contractors and defining their obligations, then in October 2022, they published a notice proposing further regulations. Despite this attention, employee misclassification continues to persist throughout the country, and Pennsylvania is no exception. It has seemingly become a go-to corporate tactic to restrict the protections and services they offer to certain groups of workers, especially those working in warehouses and fulfillment centers. 

If you suspect that you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor and kept from the employee privileges you deserve, we invite you to partner with our firm. At Winebrake & Santillo, our attorneys have dedicated their careers to litigating labor cases all throughout the U.S. In fact, they handle more wage and hour cases than any other firm in Pennsylvania. 

Contact our Philadelphia-based employee misclassification lawyers at (215) 866-1551 for a free consultation with Winebrake & Santillo.

  • “Have significant experience in similar matters under the [Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act]” - Torres v. Brandsafway Indus. LLC, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10631, at *8 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 20, 2023).
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    Employee Misclassification in Philadelphia 

    Ultimately, your classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) depends on the type of relationship you have with your employer. If you have an employee relationship, you likely perform regular services for one business on an ongoing basis, and the business has a certain degree of control over when and how you fulfill your duties. On the other hand, independent contractors usually accept projects from multiple clients and retain more autonomy regarding how they complete the contracted jobs.  

    To determine your proper employee classification, you may consider the following questions: 

    • Do you work for one employer? 
    • Are they your sole source of income?
    • Do you have an ongoing relationship with them?
    • Do they establish your hours and schedule? 
    • Do they assign you duties and set deadlines?
    • Do they control how you accomplish the work?
    • Do they provide the equipment necessary to fulfill your obligations? 
    • Do they pay you hourly or a salary every month, or do they pay per project? 

    In most cases, independent contractors and employees answer these questions differently from one another. However, no one question should be used as a basis to determine your relationship with a business. For example, federal courts typically give less weight to how workers are paid when making misclassification determinations because the FLSA conditions apply regardless of how workers are paid (even if they’re paid “under the table”). 

    How Much Can You Sue An Employer For Misclassification?

    Pursuing legal action can serve as a crucial step toward recovering rightful compensation. Moreover, employers may face statutory penalties for continuous misclassification violations. If you are wondering about the potential monetary remedies, it's essential to understand the various forms of damages available, as outlined below:

    • Lost Wages and Overtime: If you were coerced to work during designated breaks without proper compensation or were denied overtime pay despite exceeding the 40-hour workweek, you have the right to seek compensation for these financial losses. Pursuing these lost wages can help rectify the injustice you've experienced.
    • Benefits and Retirement Contributions: Employers often provide benefits and retirement contributions to their employees, which may have been denied to you due to misclassification. In such cases, seeking compensation for the value of these benefits that were wrongfully withheld is a viable option.
    • Emotional Distress and Punitive Damages: Emotional distress damages address the mental strain inflicted by your employer's actions, while punitive damages aim to penalize employers for severe misconduct. While this is not available in every misclassification lawsuit, these damages can be sought if the circumstances warrant.
    • Liquidated Damages: In specific instances of misclassification, you may be eligible to recover liquidated damages. These damages represent a predetermined sum intended to reasonably compensate you for the losses you've incurred.

    It's important to note that not all misclassification cases qualify for punitive and emotional distress damages.

    Consulting with a qualified Philadelphia employee misclassification attorney will help determine whether these forms of compensation are applicable to your situation. If you were misclassified, do not hesitate to speak with an experienced lawyer at Winebrake & Santillo. We can determine if your situation warrants an employee misclassification lawsuit.

    If you are a misclassified employee, reach out to a skilled employee misclassification lawyer at Winebrake & Santillo via online form or dial (215) 866-1551.

    Fighting Employee Classification in Pennsylvania and Beyond

    In the overwhelming majority of cases, employee misclassification benefits the business more than the worker. It’s frequently used as a tool to restrict wage protections, circumvent hour laws, avoid certain tax liabilities, limit employee benefits (healthcare packages, retirement, etc.), and force employees to buy their own equipment needed to perform services.  

    How to Report a Business for Misclassification of Employees

    The misclassification of employees affects employees and independent contractors and withholds their rights as employees. Construction workers are also particularly susceptible to worker misclassification. Employers may face civil or criminal penalties for misclassifying workers.

    If your or someone you know has been misclassified as a worker, you may file a complaint with the Fair Labor Section or the Department of Labor and Industry under the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act or the Wage Payment and Collection Law. 

    Before contacting them, be sure to speak with an experienced Philadelphia employee misclassification attorney at Winebrake & Santillo. You may file a complaint, however, you must also provide evidence that demonstrates that you meet the conditions of being an employee. Any employee misclassification lawyer from our firm has had years of experience and knows exactly what you need to prepare your case. Contact us to ensure that you have everything you need for a successful complaint and case.

    Call an Employee Misclassification Lawyer in Philadelphia (215) 866-1551

    With over 70 years of combined experience, you can trust that Winebrake & Santillo will confidently litigate your employee misclassification case. We’ve successfully taken on businesses of all sizes and got our clients the compensation and privileges they deserve. Our team will work with you to report your case, gather evidence, represent your interests, and defend you against employer retaliation.  

    Let our Philadelphia employee misclassification attorneys fight for the protections and benefits you deserve. Give us a call today at (215) 866-1551 or complete our form.

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