Google Refused To Pay Contract Recruiters OT, Suit Says

Posted January 27th, 2016.

As It Appeared On
law360

Law360, Los Angeles (January 27, 2016, 6:53 PM ET) — A former contractor for Google Inc. accused the company of encouraging some contract recruiters to work long hours, but refusing to pay them for the extra time, according to a proposed class action filed in California state court Wednesday.

The company used an outside firm to hire human resources workers tasked with recruiting new employees for Google, but neither Google nor the outside firm covered the overtime pay for what typically would be a 12-hour day, former employee Tymuoi Ha alleged in Wednesday’s suit.

Google set all the rules for the employees from Urpan Technologies Inc., the outside company, including requiring the contractors to follow Google policies and permitting and even encouraging workers to stay on after their 8-hour day to work more, Ha said.

“Critically, Google established, controlled, and communicated to plaintiff and the other class members the policies regarding hours and wages that are at issue in this action,” Ha said. “For example, overtime payments are determined by Google policy even though paychecks are paid through UrpanTech.”

Ha says she complained to her supervisor at Urpan about the overtime hours and was fired shortly thereafter in January 2014, according to the suit.

Google would work with staffing agencies, including Urpan, to employ contract recruiters for the tech giant, according to the suit. Those recruiters were part of Google’s team tasked with finding candidates and developing relationships with them, helping them through the hiring process and handling the job interviews and offers, Ha said.

But Urpan wasn’t in control of Ha’s and other recruiters’ working hours, and Google encouraged its contractors to put in extra time while also refusing to approve extra pay, according to the suit.

“Google’s market capitalization is about half a trillion dollars. Our goal in bringing this suit it to ensure that the second highest valued company in the world pays its workers in accordance with the law of the land,” David Sanford, of Sanford Heisler Kimpel LLP, representing Ha, said in a statement Wednesday.

It’s not the first time Google has been accused of cheating its contract employees out of pay. In late 2014, a former Google freelancer said he was misclassified as an independent contractor and then forced to do more work in less time.

Jacob McPherson said he worked as much as 45 hours a week, but was never paid for more than 30, according to a suit he filed against his former employer in November 2014. The company classified him as an independent contractor, according to that suit. McPherson settled with Google in July, court records show.

A representative for Google didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Ha is represented by David Sanford, Michael Palmer, Felicia Medina, Xinying Valerian and Yonina Alexander of Sanford Heisler Kimpel LLP and Dayna Chmelka of Gates O’Doherty Gonter & Guy LLP.

Counsel information for Google couldn’t be immediately determined.

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP is a nationwide litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville, and Baltimore. We represent individuals against powerful interests. We act as a private attorney general in support of the private and public good.

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