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Employment

Midwest Communication Services, Inc.

Seward et al. v. Midwest Communication Services, Inc. and Dish Network Service, L.L.C.
Case No. 0:20-cv-00093 (District of Minnesota)

Installation technicians who worked for Midwest Communication Services, Inc. and Dish Network Service, L.L.C. (“Defendants”) in Minnesota filed a lawsuit on January 7, 2020 alleging violations of federal and state overtime laws.  The workers brought the case on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated installation technicians who installed Dish products and services through Midwest Communication Services.

The workers allege that they were misclassified as independent contractors and should have been employees.  Specifically, the Complaint alleges that installation technicians were paid on a piece-rate/per task basis only and not paid an overtime premium when they worked overtime hours.  It also alleges that technicians’ pay was unlawfully subject to deductions for various reasons. The lawsuit was filed as a collective action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and as a class action under Minnesota state laws.  The workers seek unpaid overtime compensation, an award for unlawful deductions, and double damages. 

Type of Case

Misclassification

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Am I eligible?

You are eligible to make a claim in this case if you worked for Midwest Communication Services as an installation technician at any time within the past three years and were not paid an overtime premium for the overtime hours you worked.

Additional Information

Is This a Class Action? What Does that Mean?

This case is both a potential collective action under federal law and a potential class action under Minnesota state law. This means that, depending on the type of claim you have, there may be a slightly different process for joining and participating in this suit. See below for more details on this process.

Though the process and terminology may differ slightly, the idea behind both a class and collective action is the same: it allows one or more people to sue on behalf of themselves and other people who have similar claims. In order to proceed as a group, though, the Court must certify the class and collective. Because we are in the early stages of the case, this has not happened yet, but we intend to seek the company’s agreement or file the motions at the appropriate times asking the Court to grant these certifications.

Which Locations Are Included?

This case seeks to include all installation technicians who work or have worked for Midwest Communication Services installing Dish products and services in Minnesota within the past three years. 

How Do I Join This Case?

Federal law under the FLSA requires employers to pay overtime after 40 hours in a workweek  In order make a claim in this case for your unpaid overtime under the federal FLSA, you must complete a consent form and return it to our office. You can sign up online by clicking here.

MN state law requires employers to pay overtime after 48 hours in a workweek.  If the Court certifies this case as a class action under state law, all installation technicians who worked over 48 hours per week within the past three years will be automatically included, unless they choose to opt-out. 

What Time Frame Does This Case Cover?

There is a federal time limit, called a statute of limitations, that allows workers to recover unpaid overtime wages within two years of the worker signing up to join the lawsuit by completing and returning the consent form referenced above. If we can prove that the companies willfully violated the law, the statute of limitations may be extended to three years.  State law is similar.

Do I Have To Pay Anything?

You do not have to pay anything if you make a claim in this case. We are handling the case on a contingency basis. This means we will only be paid if the lawsuit is successful in obtaining relief either through a settlement, award, or a final judgment, and that payment will only come out of that settlement, award, or final judgment.

How Do I Prove I Worked Overtime?

If you have records of the hours you worked, please preserve and keep them until we ask you for them. However, you do not need to have records of your work hours to make a claim for your overtime pay. If a company did not keep accurate time records, most courts will permit you to estimate your work hours. Through this lawsuit, we will seek any records the companies may have of your hours worked as well.

What About Retaliation?

It is against the law for an employer to retaliate against a person for joining a lawsuit to reclaim unpaid wages. If you believe you may be the victim of retaliation for joining or participating in this lawsuit, contact the case clerk, Jacob Skold, at jskold@nka.com or (612) 256-3226.

How Long Will This Case Take?

The length of this kind of lawsuit varies from case to case, but they typically last one to three years.

Is There Money Available Now?

No. This is a pending lawsuit. There is no money currently available and there is no guarantee that you will receive money for joining the lawsuit.

How Can I Help?

If you know any installation technicians interested in making a claim for unpaid overtime, they should contact the case clerk, Jacob Skold, at jskold@nka.com or (612) 256-3226.  You can also direct them here to sign up electronically. There is strength in numbers. 

How Do I Learn More?

To learn more about this case, feel free to contact the case clerk, Jacob Skold, at jskold@nka.com or (612) 256-3226.

Case Updates

  • January 9, 2020

    Installation Technicians File Lawsuit Against Midwest Communication Services, LLC and Dish Network

    Installation technicians who worked for Midwest Communication Services, Inc. and Dish Network Service, L.L.C. (“Defendants”) in Minnesota filed a lawsuit on January 7, 2020 alleging violations of federal and state overtime laws.  The workers brought the case on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated installation technicians who installed Dish products and services through Midwest Communication Services.

    The workers allege that they were misclassified as independent contractors and should have been employees.  Specifically, the Complaint alleges that installation technicians were paid on a piece-rate/per task basis only and not paid an overtime premium when they worked overtime hours.  It also alleges that technicians’ pay was unlawfully subject to deductions for various reasons. The lawsuit was filed as a collective action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and as a class action under Minnesota state laws.  The workers seek unpaid overtime compensation, an award for unlawful deductions, and double damages. 

    Plaintiffs’ attorney Michele Fisher of Nichols Kaster, PLLP explained, “installers are often misclassified as independent contractors, which routinely denies them the overtime premiums they should have received had they been correctly classified as employees.  It is our position that these installers deserve overtime premiums for the overtime hours they worked and should not have been subjected to unlawful chargebacks to their pay.” 

    Plaintiffs are represented by Michele R. Fisher and Jay E. Eidsness from Nichols Kaster, PLLP, which has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco, California.  The case is entitled, Seward et al. v. Midwest Communication Services, Inc. and Dish Network Service, L.L.C, Case No.: 0:20-cv-00093 (District of Minnesota).

    Additional information about how to make a claim for overtime pay in the case may be found at www.nka.com or by calling Nichols Kaster, PLLP toll free at (877) 448-0492.

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