Class Action Filed Against Google for Mislabeling Workers as Independent Contractors
On Wednesday, November 12th, a former Google employee filed a class action lawsuit against the tech company for misclassifying him as an independent contractor, which allowed the company to avoid paying federal taxes, give him overtime, or pay his workers comp.
The lawsuit was filed in a New York federal court, and although there is only one plaintiff so far, the lawsuit seeks to consolidate as a class action to fight for other current and former Google employees who have been denied benefits like workers comp because of their improper independent contractor status.
Many companies have faced criticism lately because they hire numerous employees as independent contractors specifically in order to avoid paying several benefits for their workers, including workers comp or health insurance. FedEx faced an independent contractor class action lawsuit last year in California, where a San Francisco court ruled that under the state’s law, drivers for the delivery company qualified as employees and should therefore have taxes taken out of their pay checks, and have workers comp premiums paid for them.
Similar lawsuits have arisen in South Carolina. For example, plaintiff Mildred Shatto was originally denied workers comp for a fall-related injury sustained at her place of employment, McLeod Regional Medical Center – simply because the anesthetist was classified as an independent contractor. Although the SC Supreme Court ruled last December that Shatto should receive workers comp, a decision upheld this past June by the SC Court of Appeals, her ruling does not solve the overall problem in the US for independent contractors.
The independent contractor class action lawsuit against Google was filed by Jacob McPherson, 27, who accepted a job with the internet company last year at $35 per hour. He took the job through a contract agency, which actually paid his wages, but he was required to work at the Google Play offices in Chelsea.
McPherson claims he was told he could only bill for 30 hours per week, which would keep him at a part-time employee classification. However, he said in his class action filing, he actually worked full-time for the company, which like many tech giants aims to create a work culture that encourages workers to spend more than their regular, required work hours at the office.
“Google had a practice of requiring plaintiff and others similarly situated to decrease the time spent on repeated tasks on a weekly basis,” the complaint states. “When Google’s requirement became impossible and the time spent on these tasks could not be decreased, plaintiff and others similarly situated were forced to complete the tasks on their own time.”
However, when McPherson tried to bill for the extra hours he worked, Google refused to pay him for the time. When he asked for a new, full-time contract, Google fired him.
McPherson seeks class action damages for the company’s violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Comp Claims in South Carolina
Any full-time employee (working for an employer with four or more employees) who has an employment related injury and needs medical attention should be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. It doesn’t matter if the injury was a complete accident or the fault of a co-worker.
The South Carolina workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you have been injured on the job, give us a call. We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800.