Cable television installer Bowlin Group LLC must pay almost $1.1 million in back wages and damages for misclassifying 196 employees as independent contractors, the U.S. Department of Labor announced.
The Bowlin Group, based in Walton, Ky., provided cable installation services to Insight Communications until May 2012. A Department of Labor investigation found the company classified some cable installers as employees but classified others doing the same work as independent contractors.
In addition, workers — whether they were treated as employees or independent contractors — were paid based on pieces of equipment they installed rather than an hourly rate, according to the Department of Labor. As a result, the workers were denied overtime.
“This judgment rightfully provides wages to the workers who earned them,” said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. “The misclassification of employees as independent contractors cheats workers of wages and benefits to which they would otherwise be entitled to under the law, subsequently hurting our economy. It also leads to unfair competition because businesses that play by the rules operate at a disadvantage to those that don't.”