Overtime Laws Continue to Protect Texas Employees from Misclassification Scams
Texas State Labor Laws
Labor Laws in Texas have continued to protect workers against schemes that attempt to deprive them of overtime pay by misclassifying them as independent contractors.
The state of Texas follows the federal labor laws, and has not adopted any of their own as some states like California have done. However, the federal laws are still strict in executing protections contained in the Fair Labor Standard Act.
Overtime Pay Requirements
According to Texas overtime laws, employers are required to pay their employees overtime pay for hours worked over forty hours a week.
Labor laws in Texas also require that overtime pay should be no less than one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay.
The only employees that should not receive overtime pay are those that are properly classified as exempt.
Overtime Exempt Employees
Texas follows the federal laws regarding exempt employees, which are strictly defined by the Department of Labor and include employees such as;
- Specific Commissioned Positions
- True Independent Contractors
Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors
Because independent contractors are exempt from being paid overtime, it is unfortunately a common practice in Texas, as well as other states, to misclassify workers to avoid paying them overtime. Misclassifying employees can result in workers being denied minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation benefits.
While numerous factors are involved in determining if someone is really an independent contractor, the most significant factor to be considered is whether the person to whom service is rendered (the employer or principal) has control or the right to control the worker, the work to be done and the manner and means in which it is performed.
The more control someone else has over you and your work, the less likely you are to be a legitimate independent contractor.
An Example of Misclassification
A recent case where an oil and gas company in Texas misclassified workers as independent contractors to deprive them of overtime pay took place this summer was with the company Honghua America LLC, a large-scale equipment manufacturer and drilling service provider.
The company has had to paid $687,469 in overtime back wages to 133 roughnecks and crane operators after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the FLSA’s overtime provision in Houston.
If you are an employee in Texas and believe that you might be misclassified as an independent contractor by your employer to avoid being paid overtime, it’s important to contact the Lore Law Firm today in order to get the compensation you deserve.