Employees of companies that perform technical work for DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) have filed two dozen federal lawsuits in the last seven days, arguing that they should treated as employees of the satellite operator.
According to a report Thursday in Courthouse News, "24 federal actions and counting" have been filed against DirecTV, alleging the company treats its service technicians as "contractors" working for independent firms, even though they wear DirecTV uniforms and drive in service vehicles festooned with DirecTV signage.
Not classifying these techs as employees, the plaintiffs argue, is DirecTV's way of skirting the Fair Labor Standards Act.
"But fortunately for these workers, it is the economic reality of the relationship--not DirecTV's self-serving labels--that controls whether plaintiffs meet the definition (among the broadest ever legislated) of an 'employee' under the ... FLSA," a complaint filed on Oct. 20 in Wisconsin states.
DirecTV did not respond to FierceCable's inquiry for comment. T. Warren Jackson, senior VP and associate general counsel for the satellite operator, told Courthouse News, "They are attacking a business model and using, you know, hyperbole to do so. Maybe that's not hyperbole, but it's certainly overblown."
"The provider agreements enable DirecTV to control nearly every facet of the technician's work, down to the 'DirecTV' shirts they are required to wear and the 'DirecTV' ID card they must show customers," the Wisconsin complaint adds.
Technicians say DirecTV should thus give them hourly wages that conform to state and federal laws. They also want overtime pay for the 50 to 60 hours they say each employee works weekly.
- read this Courthouse News story
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