By David Weil
For the Deseret News
Published: Friday, May 1 2015 12:04 a.m. MDT
Imagine if one day you went to your job, and the very next day you went back to the same job – working for the very same boss in the same location and performing the same tasks – but your employer declared you to be an independent contractor or part of a limited liability company.
That’s exactly what one Utah construction company was doing, as part of a worker misclassification scheme that denied workers basic protections. But an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division shut down this business model and made the workers whole again, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The defendants in this legal matter (operating collectively as CSG Workforce Partners, Universal Contracting, LLC and later as Arizona Tract/Arizona CLA) required their workers to become “member/owners” of limited liability companies, stripping them of legal rights that come with employee status. That means no minimum wage guarantee, no time-and-a-half overtime pay, no workers’ compensation, no unemployment insurance and other benefits.