UnitedHealth Reaches $192,500 Settlement with Medical Consultants
Earlier this year, a $192,500 settlement deal was reached in an overtime lawsuit filed by 17 medical records consultants working for UnitedHealth Group and Optum, a subsidiary. Their primary responsibility was to implement new software and provide direct support to hospital staff learning how to use this software. In the suit, the medical consultants claim they were misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. The claims were originally brought forth in April 2019 by Oluro Olukayode on behalf of himself and other employees accusing UnitedHealth of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Maryland, Maine, and New York wage laws.
According to a recent Bloomberg Law article, “The 17 consultants will split $70,000 of the total, which amounts to 70% of their alleged unpaid overtime. Each will receive an individual payout based on the number of overtime hours they worked during the relevant period. Class counsel will receive $122,500 in attorneys’ fees and costs.” The deal was approved by a federal judge in Minnesota.
Employee or Independent Contractor?
Oftentimes, the line between employee and independent contractor can be blurry and confusing. Some employers use this to their advantage in order to avoid paying overtime wages. However, there are several clear distinctions between employees and independent contractors. Independent contractors can typically work for several employers at the same time and set their own hours. However, they are not protected by workplace anti-discrimination laws and are not entitled to overtime wages. On the other hand, employees are prohibited from working for other employers, and their hours are set by their employers. But, employees are protected by anti-discrimination laws and receive overtime wages. If you think you may have been misclassified as an independent contractor, you should seek expert legal counsel.
Federal and State Laws on Overtime Regulations
There are federal and state laws that protect individuals from wage violations in the workplace. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees are entitled to receive overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 per workweek at a “rate not less than one and a half times the regular rate of pay.” Several states, including New York and New Jersey, acknowledge and uphold this law. Both state and federal regulations regarding overtime pay are in place to prohibit employers from refusing to pay their employees their rightfully earned wages.
Seek Legal Assistance Today
If you have been misclassified as an independent contractor or believe you have unpaid wages, seek legal assistance from the Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City and Livingston, NJ. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.