I was recently contacted by an attorney colleague in Miami whose client suffered a work injury. Our mutual client was paid as an independent contractor, which made it more difficult for my colleague to obtain her workers’ compensation benefits. In speaking with the client and analyzing her pay records, we realized that she was working overtime without getting overtime pay. She also had a lunch break automatically deducted every day – even if she didn’t take a lunch break.
I filed a lawsuit to recover our client’s unpaid overtime wages and regular wages (for when she worked more than 40 hours a week and for when she worked during the automatically deducted “lunch breaks”) and to have her re-classified as an employee instead of as an independent contractor to help her workers’ compensation claim. My lawsuit was necessary to help my colleague convince the employer that our client was an employee who was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits (and unpaid wages).
In the end, my client recovered her unpaid wages – which increased her average weekly wages and her workers’ compensation benefits – and the employer agreed to pay her workers’ compensation benefits. Plus, the employer paid my client’s attorneys’ fees and costs.
I consider this a success story.