CWS 3.0: August 31, 2011 - Vol. 3.22

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Legal Eagle: Temp Workers Sue

A class of temporary workers claiming to have been improperly classified as exempt from overtime wages has filed a lawsuit against computer network company Juniper Networks Inc. in addition to its staffing provider, PrO Unlimited.

PrO Unlimited provides staff augmentation services to Juniper. According to the suit, Lazarin et al. v. PrO Unlimited Inc. et al., the contingent workers signed agreements with Juniper and PrO that stated they were exempt from overtime requirements and prohibited them from recording or being compensated for time worked beyond eight hours in a day. The contingent workers claim they regularly worked more than eight hours in a day and 40 hours per week without receiving overtime.

Because  violations of federal or state wage and hour laws are rarely covered by business liability or employment insurance, companies should audit their staffing contracts to determine who has assumed responsibility (if anyone) if a such a lawsuit is brought.

Staffing firms should be classifying workers based on the work they are doing and not on any signed agreements with the workers. Therefore, companies should be sure to provide their staffing suppliers with clear and accurate job descriptions to enable them to classify the workers accurately.

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