As predicted by Foreclosurepedia, the Employee Misclassification litigation has begun making the rounds across the United States. The most recent iteration is something which ought to make National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) members terrified. You see, ironically the one part of NAMFS member Master Service Agreements (MSA) which is legal is the provision pertaining to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Building upon Foreclosurepedia’s reporting, dating back to 2012, NAMFS members have known that they have purposefully misclassified employees for over two decades. Beginning with Hurst v Buczek Enterprises wherein Buczek Enterprises paid Field Service Technician Brad Hurst “six figures” to settle a claim of employee misclassification and continuing with the Vinson Settlement wherein Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS), a subsidiary of VPS Holdings LTD, paid millions to keep Field Service Technician Bennett Vinson silent, the Mortgage Field Services Industry is reeling and many are asking why Eric Miller, Executive Director of NAMFS refused to allow discussions with respect to this subject. Recently, in the Bowerman jury verdicts, 7 out of roughly 150 cases found awards of $2.2 Million against Assurant Field Asset Services (AFAS). And only last week, the California Supreme Court overturned twenty five years of erroneous employee labor law and charted a new course by adopting the “ABC Test” long held by states like Massachusetts. That ruling determined that not only were truck drivers employees, but overturned the Uber and Lyft rulings, both put on hold during the pendency. Finally, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) began assessing millions of dollars in fines against NAMFS members for willfully misclassifying employees throughout California.
Today, though, we have moved to the Dirty, Dirty South. And in the first of its kind, we are seeing litigation from Inspectors. Additionally, the lawsuit is approaching its angle from that of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Elizabeth Elinknan is suing RP Field Services, LLC, and National Creditors Connection, Inc., in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia claiming unpaid overtime and minimum wages. And it is a continuing strategy to hammer the soft underbelly of financial institutions — the order mills — and begin to hold them accountable for their lax oversight as we pointed out in the federal Involuntary Bankruptcy Filing against Jack Jaffa and National Field Network. And as opposed to the Class Action filings we have seen recently, this is an FLSA Collective Action.
The FLSA also provides employees the ability to bring a lawsuit seeking unpaid wages as a group. That process is referred to as a collective action. Collective actions are similar to class actions and permit employees with similar job descriptions, who are denied overtime through the same compensation scheme, to bring their claims in a single lawsuit. Similar to a class action, the collective action process benefits employees who might not otherwise be able to afford to hire an attorney to represent them, and for whom, because their individual claim is not particularly large, it would be difficult to find an attorney to represent them on a contingency basis.
This case was brought on behalf of field representatives who, as a result of being misclassified as “independent contractors”, were not paid proper overtime and/or minimum wages. If you worked for RP Field Services and/or National Creditors Connection, Inc. as a field representative, or in a similar job title/position within the last three years and were not paid an overtime premium for hours you worked over 40 in a week, and/or your total weekly earnings were less than the federal minimum wage, you may join this case. The link at the beginning of the paragraph allows you to enter into the lawsuit and gives overall information.
It is no coincidence that much of the language in the lawsuit sounds familiar. In fact, Safeguard Properties (SGP) requires nearly identical actions of its Inspectors. So egregious were the requirements for inspectors by Five Brothers when they illegally stole the image of Mike Row, Dirty Jobs star, that Rowe took to the internet denouncing Five Brothers and their actions. Here is what Rowe had to say,
Consider my own recent inclusion in the employee handbook for Five Brothers Default Management Solutions. As you can see, when it comes to workplace fashion, The Five Brothers have deemed my sartorial choices as “Unacceptable.” Why? Clearly, Five Brothers prefers the look of freshly-laundered, malnourished millennials who go belt-less and wear dance slippers.
Am I offended? No. But clearly, if I’m unwilling to change the cut of my jib, I won’t be providing default management solutions anytime soon. And I suppose I’ll just have to live with that.
PS. A big thanks to Heather Kurelic, for calling this slight to my attention. Please tell the Brothers Five my lawyers will be in touch.
The identification of Inspectors, in the instant case, is unique as many are required to have state licensure. Most do not and NAMFS members never enforce the law. And make no mistake whatsoever that Unions across the nation are taking note of the targeting of an employee class — in fact the first opening for Unions in nearly three decades. Many within both the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development have agreed that the Service Contract Act (SCA) applies to nearly all Mortgage Field Services Industry work sites. The issue which has always presented was that the Courts had not caught on to precisely how horrific NAMFS members were abusing Minority Females and Labor with respect to misclassification of employees.
Foreclosurepedia will go deeper into the ramifications of this filing in tonight’s Foreclosurepedia Podcast.