Cableworkers Add New Twist for Comcast
Cableworkers employed as independent contractors by Comcast filed a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that the cable giant employed these individuals as independent contractors instead of employees in an effort to avoid complying with applicable federal and state employment laws. With regard to the federal claims, the plaintiff, Adriano Queiroz, seeks to represent all similarly situated individuals throughout the country. He also seeks to represent all similarly situated employees throughout Maryland and New Mexico on the state law claims alleging violations of those state labor codes.
Mr. Queiroz alleges that the plaintiffs performed manual labor on behalf of Comcast seven (7) days per week and usually at least ten (10) hours per day. The tasks performed included installing fiber optic cable, removing cable, repairing cable connections and other others services in relation to Comcast's business. Queiroz alleges that the individuals do not qualify as independent contractors under applicable laws because they do not exercise sufficient control over their work, do not exercise the skill and initiative of a person in business for themselves, make relatively minor investments in their businesses as compared to Comcast, and do not control the key determinants of profit and loss of a successful enterprise.
In support of his allegations, Queiroz cites comments from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office ("GAO") indicating that the Department of Labor has not effectively enforced the nation's wage and hour laws. The GAO concluded that the Department of Labor "does not sufficiently leverage its existing tools to increase compliance" and has in too many cases "simply dropped the ball in pursuing employers that cheat workers out of their hard earned wages."
If Queiroz is correct and Comcast has improperly classified these individuals as independent contractors, Comcast may be liable for significant amounts of overtime wages, employment taxes, and other penalties.
To read more of the allegations made by Queiroz against Comcast, click here.