If you allow someone to perform work yet you never officially hire the person, don’t think you can avoid paying by calling her a volunteer. She’s your employee and must earn at least minimum wage. No formal or even informal agreement or documentation is necessary.
Reason: The federal Fair Labor Standards Act () defines an employee as one who “suffers or is permitted to work.” So if someone comes in as a favor to help out around the office, it’s best to pay her the minimum wage. Otherwise, it may come back to haunt you in court.
Recent case: Kim Casey’s husband worked at the C&B Garage. At his urging, Kim helped out around the garage. She answered inquiries about auto part prices, wrote out receipts, prepared checks and took payments from customers. C&B never officially hired her.
After an apparent falling-out, the Caseys sued C&B for Kim’s wages. The trial court sided with her, concluding that she was an employee since she’d been “permitted to work.” Because the company had paid her nothing, the court calculated her wages at 40 hours per week at minimum wage and ordered the garage owners to pay her $11,742.
C&B appealed, but the 11th Circuit upheld the award. No actual agreement was necessary. If an employer allows someone to work, that person is due at least the minimum wage. (Casey v. Looney d.b.a. C&B Garage and Auto Parts, No. 05-1477, 11th Cir., 2006)
Final tip: This isn’t just a small-business problem. Several class-action lawsuits against Wal-Mart claim that independent contractors working on cleaning crews were actually employees, as were the contractors’ relatives whom they brought in to help clean the stores.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/2666/unpaid-helper-or-official-employee-beware-blurry-line "
- Go ahead and trim the tree--while keeping your party liability-free
- How should we determine if employees should be paid for time in training?
- Judge rejects class-action bid in San Diego taxi case
- Employer health costs are predicted to rise 8.5% in 2012
- Déjà Vu owners should have seen dancers' FLSA claim coming