Worker Misclassification is No Laughing Matter: Clowns file lawsuit over alleged independent contractor misclassification

Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) reports that a group of clown performers allege that they were misclassified as independent contractors. SIA reports:

A group of clown performers filed a lawsuit against Clowns.com Inc. claiming they were misclassified as independent contractors and owed overtime and other pay, according to court records. The suit seeks damages and has other allegations, including from a former clown that claims actions by a Clowns.com owner resulted in the loss of a new job after the performer quit the clown work over Covid-19 concerns.

“Worker misclassification is no laughing matter,” the first sentence in the complaint says.

Clowns.com provides clowns and related services for children’s birthday parties and other events in the New York area, the lawsuit said. It also provides magicians and costumed characters such as Scooby Doo, Hello Kitty, Batman and Wonder Woman.

The suit alleges Clowns.com promised plaintiffs wages of $25 per hour but only paid for time spent actually performing at children’s parties. It did not pay for time spent traveling between parties or to parties from the company headquarters in Elmont, New York, where the performers were required to start their workday. The suit also claims Clowns.com made unauthorized deductions from wages and did not provide required wage notices or statements. In an example of a deduction, the suit said the company would deduct for any parking tickets entertainers incurred, for example, when a party ran longer than scheduled.

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