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Lowe’s Home Centers has agreed to pay to pay up to $2.9 million to 450 New Jersey installers to settle charges it had misclassified the workers as independent contractors.
The maximum settlement amount equates to about $6,333 per settlement class member less costs and attorney’s fees, according to the proposed settlement agreement with Lowe’s, which is a unit of Mooresville, North Carolina-based Lowe’s Cos. Inc. The litigation was filed against the chain by Thomas Mittl, a window and door installer.
The agreement in Thomas Mittl v. Lowe’s Home Centers L.L.C. was reached in November, according to the plaintiffs’ settlement motion, which was submitted to the U.S. District Court in Trenton, New Jersey, for approval on Tuesday.
The settlement applies to installers who signed contracts with Lowe’s to preform installations for Lowe’s customers, according to the motion.
Litigation in the case was originally filed in state court in August 2015 before being moved to federal court in September 2015. Plaintiffs had filed a motion for class certification in the case, but it was still pending when the settlement agreement was reached.
“Plaintiffs assert that Lowe’s had the right to control and in fact did control all aspects of installation services” performed by the installers, said the settlement motion.
“Lowe’s strongly denies any wrongdoing and strongly contests that this action can be properly certified as a class action,” said the motion.
The motion says plaintiffs believe if the case had proceeded to trial and they prevailed, the maximum amount recoverable for the class would have been $27 million, while Lowe’s contended the maximum recoverable damages “were closer to $5 million.”
Two interrelated Massachusetts construction firms have been ordered to pay $2.4 million in back wages and liquidated damages to 478 employees for misclassifying most of them as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime and other benefits, the U.S. Department of Labor said.