Golf caddies in New Jersey and New York are often misclassified as independent contractors, instead of as employees. Golf clubs benefit from misclassifying caddies to avoid paying them any wages. Taking the time to understand whether you qualify as an employee could help you receive the total amount of pay you deserve. If you are a golf caddy and believe you have a wage and hour claim, contact our skilled employment law attorney today to discuss your options.
Discuss Your Golf Caddy Claim With a Wage and Hour Lawyer
Are you working as a golf caddy and believe you have a wage and hour case in New York or New Jersey? Is your employer refusing to pay you overtime? If so, your employer may be violating the law. If you suspect that your rights as an employee at a golf club are being violated, you may have the right to file a wage-and-hour claim against your employer. Successful claimants are entitled to back pay and other types of damages.
Golf Clubs Often MIscategorize Caddies To Avoid Paying the Minimum Wage and Overtime
Golf clubs are notorious for treating their caddies as independent contractors so they can avoid paying them anything. During the golf season, most caddies work exclusively for one club, working 5-7 days a week. During these days, they often work two rounds of golf per day, with each round taking 4-4.5 hours. As a result, caddies frequently work well over 40 hours a week during the busy golf season.
Despite working these long, hard hours, most clubs pay caddies nothing. The sole compensation caddies receive is normally a bag fee per golfer and whatever trip the golfer gives them.
This is likely illegal if the golf caddies were misclassified as independent contractors.
If You Are a Golf Caddy, You May Be Entitled to Minimum Wage and Overtime
Courts look at certain factors to determine whether a caddy should be an employee and thereby entitled to minimum wage and overtime.
How Much Control Does the Golf Club Exert Over the Caddies?
How much control the golf club has over the golf caddy is an important factor.
In defending against these claims, many clubs say the caddies do not have set hours and are free to work at multiple clubs. These arguments are often a red herring.
For many golf courses, the caddy master is the club employee who is responsible for overseeing the caddies. The caddy master often tells the caddies by when they need to be at the caddy shack and when they go home. The caddy master is the one who assigns caddies to golfers. With this power, caddy masters often reward caddies who show up early and come to the club every day. The caddy master, likewise, punishes caddies who show up later and work at other clubs by not assigning them to golfers.
So while it might be true the golf club does not require the caddies to work certain hours, the caddies are punished if they are not at the club for all hours. This is the type of control that suggests caddies should be employees.
Also, many clubs require caddies to wear a specific uniform. This too suggests an employer-employee relationship.
It is also common for caddy masters to tell caddies to clean up the caddy shack when they are waiting to be assigned a golfer. This likewise suggests an employer-employee relationship.
Golf clubs typically set the bag fee that golfers pay. This suggests an employer-employee relationship. Conversely, it would suggest an independent contractor agreement if the caddies set the fee.
Conversely, if a caddy is able to come and go to the club as he or she pleases, without being punished for it, that would suggest an independent contractor relationship.
What If a Golf Caddy Signs an Independent Contractor Agreement with the Golf Club?
Many clubs have caddies sign an independent contractor agreement and point to that as proof they properly classified the caddy. While that agreement has some value in examining whether someone is an employee or not, it ultimately does not have much value.
Differences in New York and New Jersey Overtime Laws
If you are a caddy treated as an independent contractor instead of an employee, you may be entitled to damages from your employer. When employers do not follow federal and state laws by misclassifying their employees as independent contractors, they are liable to the employee. Employees have a right to file a claim against their employer. The statute of limitations for wage-and-hour violations is six years in New York and New Jersey. In other words, you will have six years to file a claim against your employer to recover damages.
If you are in New Jersey, you have a right to obtain all of the overtime your employer owes you. You can also claim double the amount of overtime your employer owes you as a form of liquidated damages. In New Jersey, for example, if your employer owes you $5,000 in overtime, you could claim $5,000 plus $10,000 in liquidated damages for a total of $15,000. In New York, liquidated damages equal 100% of the owed wages.
Discuss Your Case With a Wage and Hour Lawyer Today
At Lipsky Lowe LLP, we believe that every employee should receive the total amount of compensation they deserve under the law. Our attorneys advocate for employees who have been misclassified as independent contractors. We help them obtain the back pay they deserve as well as liquidated damages. If you are a golf caddy in New York or New Jersey and you believe your employer has failed to pay you the overtime you deserve, we recommend discussing your case with one of our experienced lawyers. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.