South Florida Firms Join Forces to Pursue Unfair Employment Practice Claims Against Unscrupulous Internet Companies

April 16, 2013


Rampant Mistreatment of U.S. Technology Workers Continues Despite Federal Department of Labor Misclassification Initiative; Lawsuit Seeks Remedies for Employee Improperly Classified as Independent Contractor who found Counsel through Avvo.com.

West Palm Beach, FloridaTwo South Florida intellectual property litigation firms filed a lawsuit on 4/12/2013 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of a Los Angeles, California based employee against his employer for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) and state wage and hour laws based on its failure to pay him a minimum wage and
overtime. The suit claims that the plaintiff, a German internet technology worker, was paid an effective rate of less than $2.00 per hour, well below the California minimum wage of $8.00 per hour. The suit also alleges that the Plaintiff’s Boca Raton, Florida employer denied him overtime as well as access to critical benefits and protections available to all U.S. employees, such as family and medical leave and unemployment insurance.

“Despite an initiative launched three years ago by the Department of Labor (DOL) under the leadership of Secretary Hilda L. Solis, this case demonstrates that the problem of employees misclassified as independent contractors continues,” said Joel B. Rothman of Schneider Rothman IP Law Group. An IP litigator with considerable employment litigation experience and an internet industry background, Rothman noted that the problem facing his client is endemic among internet businesses who often improperly classify employees as independent contractors and, in the process, deny them critical workplace protections and employment benefits to which they are legally entitled.

“Stories like this are becoming more common as U.S. companies increasingly hire global talent to fuel the needs of the technology sector, especially in the area of internet marketing,” said attorney Steve Schlackman of Schlackman Intellectual Property. Schlackman, who spent twenty years in marketing before returning to law school, also noted that technology workers with nonimmigrant visas may be particularly vulnerable if their employment status changes. “Unfamiliarity with U.S. government standards can leave workers at the mercy of unprincipled employers who classify them improperly as independent contractors to avoid paying employment taxes.”

“Unfair treatment of workers has implications beyond the impact on tech talent working on cutting edge internet technologies here in the U.S.,” noted Rothman. “Under a Memorandum of Understanding between DOL and the IRS, federal agencies share information on the misclassification of employees as independent contractors to help reduce the tax gap and improve compliance with federal labor laws,” Rothman explained. “This means that the government will not only pursue employers who mistreat employees and violate the law, but will also pursue employers for lost tax revenue.”

The Plaintiff found Joel Rothman on Avvo.com , where Rothman’s Avvo profile highlights his experience representing employees and employers in cases involving claims under Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FLSA, FMLA, wrongful discharge, confidentiality, trade secrets, restrictive covenants, as well as negotiating employment agreements and severance agreements. “I have been a big fan of Avvo since they debuted in Florida in 2008, and I continue to appreciate the boost that Avvo provides to my practice,” said Rothman.

About Schneider Rothman Intellectual Property Law Group PLLC: Located in Boca Raton, Florida, Schneider Rothman is a premier IP boutique law firm. With over sixty years of combined experience, Joel Rothman and Jerold Schneider help inventors, technology professionals, software developers, photographers, artists, designers and other creative professionals protect and enforce their intellectual property rights, as well as protect themselves in employment law matters.

About Schlackman Intellectual Property: Steve Schlackman founded Schlackman Intellectual Property after a twenty year career in pharmaceutical and internet marketing. A registered patent attorney, and accomplished photographer, Steve files patents, trademarks and copyrights and also counsels clients on technology law and intellectual property. He also curates The Art Law Journal at artlawjournal.com, a place where artists and inventors can go to educate themselves on intellectual property matters so they can make informed decisions regarding the protection of their ideas and artistic works.

About Avvo, Inc.: Avvo.com is the web’s largest legal Q&A forum, directory and legal marketplace (http://www.avvo.com), connecting hundreds of thousands of consumers and lawyers every month. In Avvo’s Q&A forum consumers can get free legal advice 24/7 from more than 125,000 participating lawyers, and Avvo’s directory provides comprehensive profiles, client reviews, peer endorsements and the industry recognized Avvo Rating for more than 95 percent of all lawyers in the U.S. The Avvo Legal Marketplace, currently available for traffic tickets and divorce cases, revolutionizes how consumers find and hire an attorney. In addition, Avvo helps lawyers grow their business with Avvo Ignite, a cloud-based marketing platform and website solution designed specifically for attorneys. Founded in 2007, Avvo is privately held with funding from Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and Ignition Partners.