Window Cleaners May Be Entitled To Additional Pay

Yingtao Ho

The Previant Law Firm, S.C. recently achieved a substantial settlement for window cleaners.  The window cleaners were not paid correctly mainly because of three practices:

First, to avoid paying full overtime pay and employment taxes, the employer treated a portion of the window cleaner’s income as mileage and expense reimbursements, rather than as wages.  For example, a window cleaner that earned a total of $450 in commissions for the week may have $200 of those commissions classified as expense reimbursements rather than as wages.  If the window cleaner worked 40 hours during the week, the $250 in commissions that are classified as wages means he only earned $6.25 per hour, so that the employer failed to pay the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.  In the settlement we recovered minimum wage pay for our clients.

Second, because the window cleaning company only paid commissions to its employees, it did not keep track of how many hours the employees worked for the week.  If the employee did work more than 40 hours during the week, the failure to pay an overtime premium to him for working over 40 hours per week is illegal.  In the settlement we recovered overtime pay for our clients.

Third, because the employee only made commissions when he cleaned windows, the employee was not paid for his other work performed during the week, including picking up and dropping off window cleaning equipment, attending meetings, and driving to and from cleaning assignments.  We recovered additional hourly pay for performing such work for our client window cleaners.

We believe the ways that our clients were underpaid are fairly common in the window cleaning industry.  Because many window cleaning companies have frequent turn over of staff, class action lawsuits are often possible.  In such a lawsuit a window cleaner may recover, in addition to wages owed to him, a class representative incentive award for stepping forward and representing his co-workers in the lawsuit.  If you are, or know of window cleaners who have suffered similar underpayments of wages, please contact us at (414) 240-1185.