The United States Department of Labor initiated a lawsuit against a Michigan staffing agency for allegedly misclassifying registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants as independent contractors.
Employers: Reliance Staffing LLC; Fahim Uddin, owner
Actions: Fair Labor Standards Act complaint filing
Courts: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Investigation findings: On Sept. 22, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint in federal court alleging Reliance Staffing LLC and its owner, Fahim Uddin, failed to pay healthcare professionals overtime earned while working at skilled nursing facilities.
An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division alleged that Uddin and Reliance Staffing misclassified their workers as independent contractors when, in fact, they were employees. By doing so, the employer failed to pay $90,765 in overtime wages to 70 registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants. The FLSA requires employees to be paid time and one-half their hourly rate of pay for hours over 40 in a pay period. The Bingham Farms, Michigan, company recruits and employs registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants.
The complaint seeks a total of $181,531 for the workers representing the back wages owed and an equal amount in liquidated damages. The department also asked the court to issue an injunction forbidding Uddin and Reliance Staffing from future FLSA violations.
The department’s Office of the Solicitor filed a complaint on Sept. 22, 2023.
Quote: “Independent contractors control their own work and are not economically dependent on one company for their livelihood. In this case, Reliance Staffing clearly created schedules, assigned work tasks, set rules for the registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants, who performed work that was critical for their employer’s business. These factors, among others, make them employees,” explained Wage and Hour Midwest Deputy Regional Administrator Timolin Mitchell in Detroit. “Workers misclassified as independent contractors are denied their protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act and employers do not pay applicable employment taxes or workers’ compensation on their behalf. Employers must know the wage laws that apply to their employees and pay them accordingly.”