DALLAS –(September 11, 2012) –Allen Vaught, Baron and Budd Of Counsel attorney and head of the firm’s overtime violations litigation section, has been selected as this week’s “Litigator of the Week” by legal publication Texas Lawyer for his victory in an overtime wage violations lawsuit. In the case, Vaught represented a group of mechanics that were misclassified as independent contractors by their employer to avoid paying all overtime wages required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under this law, the mechanics should have been classified as employees, and therefore should have been paid overtime wages for the preceding three-year period. Co-counsel, Ed Sullivan, of the law firm of Oberti Sullivan, also represented the mechanics in the case.

“I am honored to have been selected as ‘Litigator of the Week’ by Texas Lawyer,” said Allen Vaught. “I am glad these guys got their day in court and were able to recover the wages they are owed by law. Most employees don’t understand the legal difference between employees and independent contractors, which can have a serious impact on a worker’s pay.”

The mechanics, called “independent contractors” by their employer, were generally paid a flat salary for their work on a weekly basis. Even though the mechanics generally worked 60 hours a week, they were not paid overtime wages. But under the FLSA definitions, the mechanics should have been labeled as employees of the company instead of independent contractors. Under the law, the right to overtime pay cannot be waived by an agreement between an employer and an employee. Based on these legal principles, a judge and jury ruled that these mechanics are allowed to obtain their unpaid back wages plus a penalty, known as liquidated damages, for their employer’s violation of overtime wage laws.

According to the FLSA, independent contractors are, essentially, in business for themselves and do not solely rely on a single business entity for their income and, therefore, are exempt from overtime wage laws. However, many workers are not familiar with the specifics of the FLSA and are unaware of the law’s definitions of an employee compared to an independent contractor.  In addition, many workers do not know that they cannot waive their right to overtime pay by agreeing to be called an independent contractor.  What matters is a worker’s actual responsibilities, not what the employer calls the worker. 

If you suspect that you, a friend or family member may have been misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee and were not paid all overtime wages required by law, then please contact attorney Allen Vaught at 1.866.495.1255 or via email at avaught@baronbudd.com. Your initial consultation is free of charge and confidential.

Learn more about overtime pay violations, misclassification of employees, the FLSA and your rights in the workplace at //baronandbudd.com/areas-of-practice/overtime-violations/.

About Baron & Budd, P.C.

The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Austin and Los Angeles, is a nationally recognized law firm with a 30-year history of "Protecting What’s Right" for people, communities and businesses harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals, governmental and business entities in areas as diverse as water contamination, Gulf oil spill, Qui Tam, California Proposition 65 violations, unsafe drugs and medical devices, Chinese drywall, deceptive advertising, consumer financial fraud, securities fraud and asbestos cancers such as mesothelioma. //baronandbudd.com