This lawsuit alleges that Lowe’s Home Centers violated New Jersey independent contractor, unemployment and workers compensation laws by classifying installers as independent contractors to avoid payment of taxes and benefits required to be paid to employees.
In August 2015, New Jersey resident and millwork installer Thomas Mittl bought a class action suit against Lowe’s Home Centers LLC (“Lowe’s”), on behalf of himself and similarly situated workers (“installers”) whom Lowe’s classified by as independent contractors, alleging Lowe’s failed to classify the installers as Lowe’s employees, as required by the New Jersey Construction Industry Independent Contractor Act, to avoid providing installers with benefits offered to other Lowe’s employees, in violation of state worker compensation and unemployment compensation laws. The complaint describes benefits denied to installers as including liability insurance coverage, workers compensation coverage, and payroll contributions to fund unemployment, disability and health insurance, and eligibility for Social Security and Medicare.
Lowe’s, a national home improvement products company operating approximately 40 stores in New Jersey, offers certain installation services for products sold to customers. The installations are performed by installers who have contracted with Lowe’s to provide services. Lowe’s classifies installers, who may work up to 80 hours per week, as independent contractors and does not provide the benefits provided to full and part time Lowe’s employees. Installers, as independent contractors, must pay self-employment tax on Lowe’s income.
Mittl, the sole proprietor of a automatic door and window installation company that provided services to Lowe’s customers for approximately ten years, sued Lowe’s after his contract was terminated in November 2014 when Mittl refused to install windows as directed by Lowe’s.
The suit seeks certification of a class of individuals as Lowe’s employees, alleging Lowe’s misclassified them as independent contractors since Lowe’s had the power to control and direct the services they provided, including:
The complaint also alleges Lowe’s advertises the available services, and the installers performed all work, under the Lowe’s name.
The action charges Lowe’s with unjust enrichment for avoiding payment of employee expenses by classifying installers as independent contractors and seeks class certification and damages for class members.
This case was filed in September, 2015. We will update its status in January, 2015.