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Installers Getting Money Back After Ohio Labor Laws Violated

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Walton, OHEmployees of a firm based in Walton, Ohio, have won the day after coming away with more than $1 million in back wages and damages from a misclassification case. In this fashion, Ohio labor laws and similar statutes within the federal jurisdiction have come to the fore, and protected 196 current and former employees from unfair labor practices.

As outlined in The Cincinnati Enquirer (5/11/13), The US Department of Labor launched an investigation into Bowlin Group and Bowlin Services (Bowlin), the latter serving as a subsidiary to the former. Among various affronts to Ohio employment laws, Bowlin was found to have failed in keeping accurate payroll records.

However, the most serious violation to Ohio labor and employment law was the misclassification of some, but not all, employees of Bowlin.

According to the report, the Bowlin subsidiary provided cable installation services to Insight Communications through May of last year. The investigation found that while some installers were correctly classified as employees, 77 others were misclassified as independent contractors.

Further, according to the Ohio State Employment report, all of Bowlin’s employees undertaking installations were paid based on the pieces of equipment they installed, rather than an hourly rate. In this way, the report stated, the employees were denied overtime in accordance with Ohio labor laws.

The US Department of Labor sued the firm on behalf of one of its employees, and won a consent judgment in federal court. The final judgment amounted to $1,075,000 with the largest single payout to an employee sitting at just over $70,000.

Activists advocating for Ohio employee rights maintain that in an economy that continues to be soft, many employers attempt to cut costs and increase productivity by intentionally misclassifying employees as either exempt from overtime pay or as independent contractors. Others employers, it has been stated, simply fail to fully understand and grasp the sometimes intricate statutes that govern employers.

Whichever the motivation, the end result is a violation to Ohio employment labor law, and unfairness to a well-meaning employee. Ohio Employment attorneys are generally pleased to see that employees are finally becoming aware of their rights, and are prepared to move forward on them in an effort to mitigate unfairness on the part of an employer bent on furthering their business on the backs of their employees.

Last fall, according to the Dayton Daily News (5/20/13), the US Department of Labor filed a complaint against the El Grande restaurant chain, after an investigation found that three restaurants in the chain failed to pay minimum wages and overtime to a total of 171 workers. One of those restaurants is located in Dayton, Ohio. The complaint sought $285,000 in back wages.

According to the report, similar Ohio employment labor law complaints have been filed across the state against the operators of a Subway franchise and a sushi chain. To that end, employees who begin to smell something fishy are contacting Ohio employment attorneys for help.

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READER COMMENTS

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According to the article above, the 196 workers have been able to get the money owed them from the company that violated Ohio labor laws. There are some who aren't even able to get back wages, as they are unemployed. According to the BLS, national unemployment rose slightly in May 2013, to 7.6 percent, but this was actually a good sign for the economy, as it meant more people looking for work. More people were also employed in May 2013 according to the BLS. Granted, there were a lot of people without work still, but increasing employment is always a good sign in a struggling economy. People should also not take for granted the opportunities for jobs in various places and utilize all of them, not just one source.

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