Cases & Investigations

Employee Misclassification for Many New Jersey Independent Contractors

CASE STATUS: Under Investigation

Many companies misclassify employees as independent contractors, often in an attempt to avoid paying these individuals overtime compensation and/or employee benefits.  This practice is illegal under both federal and state laws, which have strict rules outlining when an individual may be classified as an independent contractor.  If it is proven that an employee has been misclassified as an independent contractor, the employee may be entitled to back wages, employee benefits, and additional damages.

What is being done about employee misclassification in New Jersey?

Due to the number of complaints received from individuals in New Jersey who believe they were misclassified as independent contractors, attorneys at Berger Montague are actively investigating these potential claims to determine if class and collective action lawsuits may be brought to help misclassified employees recover the compensation owed to them.

Free employee misclassification consultation

If you suspect that you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, we welcome you to contact us by using the form on this page for a free and confidential potential case evaluation.

Do I need to act now?

You should be aware that under both federal law and state laws there are limited time periods in which individuals are permitted to file a claim. This is called the statute of limitations.  All claims are subject to these limitations periods.  The statute of limitations for a federal wage and hour claim is generally a minimum of two years and a maximum of three years from the date an individual joins a lawsuit in writing.  The statutes of limitations under some state wage and hour laws may be longer than the time limit under federal law.  Thus, if you believe you were misclassified as an independent contractor in New Jersey, you should contact us as soon as possible to preserve your potential claims.

Do I have to pay any fees to the attorneys?

Our law firm is handling this investigation on a contingent fee basis.  This means that we will only be paid if a lawsuit is successful in obtaining relief either through a settlement or a final judgment, and that payment will only come out of that settlement or final judgment.  You do not have to pay anything to our law firm in order to participate in this investigation or any resulting lawsuit.

How do I prove my claim for unpaid wages and overtime?

Where the employer does not keep accurate time records, the law permits employees to make a good faith estimate of their overtime or hours worked.  Where the employer keeps accurate time records, those records may be used.

What have the courts said?

On January 14, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed this issue in a case entitled Hargrove v. Sleepy’s LLC, 220 N.J. 289 (2015).  In Hargrove, the Court determined the proper test for determining whether an employee may be considered an independent contractor under applicable New Jersey state wage-and-hour laws.  According to the Court, New Jersey employers may only classify an individual as an independent contractor if the employer can show that an individual providing services:

(A) Is free from the company’s control in performing the services;

(B) Performs work outside the usual course of the company’s business or outside the company’s place of business; and

(C) Is engaged in an independently established business.

Hargrove, 220 N.J. at 305 (citing N.J.S.A. § 43:21-19(i)(6)).

Lead Attorneys

Shanon J. Carson

Managing Shareholder
Sarah Schalman-Bergen Headshot

Sarah R. Schalman-Bergen

Shareholder

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