What rights do you have employed in the US by a foreign employer?

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What rights do you have employed in the US by a foreign employer?

I work online as a site-moderator. I work in the US however my employer is in the UK and the business/site is registered in the UK. Recently our pay which was a fraction of minimum wage was taken away from all the site moderators, so basically we now work for free. Do I even have a right to minimum wage?

Asked on April 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you work in the United States, you are subject to U.S. law, including U.S. Labor law, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the regulations under it. If you are an employee, you must therefore be paid at least minimum wage, and if you are not exempt from overtime (you can find the criteria for when an employee is exempt on the U.S. Department of Labor website), you must be paid overtime when you work more than 40 hours in one work week. The fact that your employer is in the UK is irrelevant--you are governed by the laws of your location.

That said, the critical issue is whether you are an employee or independent contract. Employees are governed by labor laws, including minimum wage; independent contractors are not. Independent contractors are governed only by the agreement between them and the company they are working for, and can earn less than minimum wage. If you are unsure as to what you are--and note: it doesn't matter what you are called, or how the company chooses to pay you; what matters if the reality or nature of how you work--you can find the tests for when someone is an indendent contractor vs. an employee on the Department of Labor website.


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