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Wage Violations of Delivery Drivers

Delivery workers on New York City’s streets can sometimes be victims of wage theft and other wage violations in spite of struggling with one of the harshest work environments. The efforts and hardships are usually invisible to customers.

Delivery workers need to move through the city even when weather conditions are unfavorable because food orders surge when the weather is inclement.

Also, many delivery workers have to buy their own vehicles with no assistance from their employers even when the bikes are used exclusively for work (plus the backpack or container/s to carry the food). On top of this when they are forced to work for less than minimum wage with no extra pay for overtime, it is a violation that should be dealt with the full force of law.

Nearly 10% of the city’s labor force is comprised of undocumented immigrants with a higher share in restaurant-industry jobs.

As per reports released by the Center for an Urban Future and the Brennan Center for Justice, there are ‘minimum wage and overtime laws in place to protect the rights of undocumented workers, but these workers seldom come forward for the fear of their questionable immigration status. This fear is routinely abused by their employers and is a revolving circle.

Whether you are a regular delivery worker or an undocumented worker, it is important that you stand up for your rights. Do not let your employer violate your wage rights. Hire an experienced wage and hour law attorney in New York such as Emre Polat who can help you pursue a legal claim successfully.

Many Delivery Companies Break the Law

In New York, a significant number of courier and delivery employees lose out on valuable benefits and make wages less than they are actually entitled to. Even big companies are not averse to paying low and unfair wages to their workers. Major corporations have had to settle in millions for misclassifying their employees as independent contractors in New York.

Do You Have the Status Of an ‘Employee’?

According to the Department of Labor, employee misclassification is among the most serious problems faced by the US workers. It is in fact a very common scheme used by employers in the delivery service industry.

There are many companies that hire drivers as independent contractors while controlling every aspect of their working lives such as wages as well as hours to work.

In reality, your working status could be similar to that of an employee but because your company does not want to pay you minimum wages, overtime pay and other fringe benefits, they may classify you as an independent contractor. There are many courier services that are willing to break the law than pay you what is legally yours.

It is important that you as a courier worker understand the proper definitions of ‘employee’ and ‘independent contractor’. However, this is where the problem begins because there is considerable ambiguity surrounding these terms. Classifying a worker as an ‘independent contractor’ has become a commonplace industry-wide occurrence.

However, as per the law, the classification depends on the actual relationship between the worker and hirer. Many courier companies nowadays would readily misclassify you as an independent contractor just to save up on health benefits and tax rates.

You can gain clarity on whether you are an employee or an independent contractor working for a delivery company by seeking legal advice from Emre Polat, a knowledgeable and astute employment attorney in New York and New Jersey.

Are you Dependent Economically?

Here are 6 fundamental questions outlined by the US Supreme Court that you should ask yourself to determine your employment relationship.

  1. Does the work you do form an integral part of the business?
    In a courier service company, the integral part of service comprises of delivering things to clients and customers. That makes you an ‘integral’ part of the business model.
  2. Based on your ‘managerial skills’ can you stand to make a profit or loss?
    Is it possible for you to make an impact on the wages you earn by way of the decisions you make? Delivery work typically does not include any ‘managerial skills’.
  3. Is there any way that you have “invested” in the business?
    Do you own the van or vehicle which you use to make deliveries? To be an independent contractor you need to make business investments and also face the risk of loss.
  4. Do you think that your work requires initiative and special skills?
    Skills refer to real business skills and not how well you might drive a delivery van.
  5. Are you in a permanent or indefinite role?
    Employees usually work for indefinite periods of time while independent workers are hired for a specific, time-bound job from where they move on to a new hirer.
  6. Does your employer have significant control over your work life?
    Whether you control meaningful aspects of your job or you have to follow employer instructions will define your working status.

To be an independent contractor you must be your own business owner, market your skills and gain new clients and business to survive. You would also make important economic decisions that help in reducing costs and increasing your business profits. In the US, many workers including delivery service workers do not fit this description.

We understand Federal and New York State Labor Laws

At the Emre Polat Law Group in New York, we have in-depth knowledge of the state and federal labor laws. Even if you are an immigrant worker with no papers, you have legal protection under the same wage and hour laws as US citizen workers. Emre Polat is an accomplished New York attorney who can help protect your rights. Book an appointment with him by calling on (212) 480-4500.

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