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Minnesota-Based Firm Accused of Denying Technicians Overtime Pay

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New Hope, MNA Minnesota labor law with national implications has resulted in a federal lawsuit, brought by technicians who claim Multiband Corp. (Multiband) is circumventing the legal requirement to pay overtime for hours worked above 40 in any given week. Filed on July 1, the federal lawsuit named Multiband Corp. of New Hope, Minnesota as the defendant.

According to the 7/3/10 edition of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Multiband is the second largest installer for DirecTV in the country and also provides maintenance services throughout 16 states and a total of 30 field offices across the US. The allegation is that Multiband, which works exclusively for DirecTV, uses more than 2,000 installers through smaller, intermediary companies but time treats them in similar fashion as employees through the "significant control" of their work.

The lawsuit asserts that such control includes required training for newly hired employees, control over how many jobs are performed and when, and requiring that all installers and maintenance technicians wear DirecTV uniforms on the job.

In the end, the installation and maintenance technicians are paid by the job and not for time worked. As a result, many of the technicians allegedly work longer than 40-hour weeks but do not receive overtime.

The federal suit was brought on behalf of Carlton J. Edwards of Tennessee "and all other similarly situated individuals" who are paid by the job but are not adequately compensated for their time.

It is alleged that the technicians work extremely long hours, are paid only what they earn in piece rates and are not paid in accordance with the normal and customary provisions for overtime pay when work exceeds 40 hours in any given week.

In some cases, plaintiffs say, 65 to 70 hours of work in any given week is not uncommon. Yet even though these technicians are treated as if they were employees, Multiband is not paying overtime.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs claim that the Minnesota company is simply avoiding the payment of overtime by operating in this fashion.

Depending on how many installers join the class action lawsuit, the payout could be in the millions, according to the plaintiff's legal team in the Minnesota labor law action. The plaintiffs are seeking unpaid overtime, interest and reimbursement for legal expenses.

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