Employment Discrimination Lawyer

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Employer Attempts to Avoid Paying Unemployment by Misclassifying Employee as Independent Contractor

Employer misclassification is a common and widespread practice in the United States where workers are classified as independent contractors rather than employees. While occasionally done in error, more often than not employers will intentionally misclassify their employees.

There are many incentives for employers to misclassify their employees, such as:

  • Employers are not required to pay Social Security and unemployment insurance taxes for independent contractors
  • By misclassifying employees as independent contractors, employers can skirt their legal responsibilities to their workers such as providing minimum wage and overtime
  • Employers can get around workplace discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) which protect the civil rights of employees on the basis of age, race, gender, or disability
  • Employers can use misclassification to prevent union organizing as independent contractors are not protected in this regard by the National Labor Relations Act
  • Employers can save money on company provided benefits such as healthcare and pension plans as independent contractors are generally unable to enroll in these

Employers may misclassify undocumented workers in order to ignore labor laws and exploit low-wage immigrant workers. While defining the difference between an employee and an independent contractor can be a bit complex, there are some simple standards by which one can differentiate, such as:

  • If the employer has the right to control the work, the worker is an employee and not an independent contractor.
  • If the employer exercises behavioral and financial control over the worker, they would be considered an employee
  • Other Factors include the amount of direction provided over the means and results of the work, the possibility of profit or loss for the worker, and whether the worker is free to provide similar services to other businesses.

MKO Employment Law LLC offers complimentary employment lawyer consultationsWe focus almost exclusively on employment law and wrongful termination issues. Our core practice revolves around these common types of situations:

  • Age Discrimination and Higher Compensated Employees
  • Disability (Medical) and FMLA
  • Gender including Sexual Harassment, Equal Pay, and Pregnancy
  • Misclassification, Overtime, and Unpaid Wages
  • Professional Exit Strategies, Severance Agreements, and Non-Competes
  • Retaliation and Hostile Work Environment
  • Unemployment Hearings and Unemployment Appeals
  • Wrongful Termination and Constructive Discharge
  • Workers’ Comp Retaliation and Whistleblowing

MKO Wins Misclassification CaseCase Update: Below is the full uploaded decision the winning case on Appeal, see how MKO can win your case! 

Our firm recently handled a case where our client was misclassified. Our client originally filed for unemployment in December 2019. She was found ineligible for unemployment because her employer, FF&E Hospitality, claimed she was hired as an independent contractor and not as an employee. This is clearly an example of an employer misclassifying an employee as a means of denying unemployment benefits to which the employee is legally entitled to.

In this case, it was our burden to prove our client was not an independent contractor and therefore eligible for Unemployment Compensation. Proving an employee was misclassified can be a difficult task.

During our client’s unemployment hearing on January 23, 2020, our firm used a variety of evidence to prove our client was misclassified as an independent contractor.

We established FF&E Hospitality had complete control over her and her work. The first piece of key evidence was the Subcontractor Agreement. The Agreement specified that our client was to work full-time doing standard office hours (8am-4pm). The Agreement further mentions that overtime, evenings, and weekends may be necessary especially during big projects and busy times.

We established FF&E Hospitality provided our client with on the job training for her position. The Owner closely monitored her work and required her to send him an email each day informing him of her arrival to work. She was often required to go out of town on business trips. Because Ms. F. needed to be available to work overtime and go out of town on business trips, there was no way she was able to provide services for other companies or employers.

FF&E Hospitality also provided our client with business cards identifying herself as a regional Operations Manager and she was expected to identify herself as such when speaking with clients and for other business-related purposes.

The evidence we produced led to the conclusion that our client was not free from direction and control over the performance of her services provided to FF&E Hospitality and that she was not engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business. This evidence ultimately lead to the reversal of the determination of ineligibility.


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After dispensing thousands of legal consultations to potential clients, I can easily say it’s my favorite part of my practice. My guidance, even if I can’t accept them as a client, helps people immeasurably in figuring out what to do and how to move forward with their lives. I make a measurable impact every single day on many people. Who else can say that about their job? I love it. Call me. – Michael Kraemer.

2545 Railroad Street, Suite 100
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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Get The Damages and Compensation You Deserve

If you were fired, laid off, or you suffered any other adverse employment action due to unlawful conduct, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for:

  • Back pay
  • Future lost earnings
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Compensatory damages
  • Liquidated damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney’s fees and costs

While it may be hard to determine and prove whether an employer’s behavior and actions are based on employment discrimination, lawyers use extensive techniques and fact-finding procedures that can be used to uncover the truth. If you feel you have been a victim of discrimination and want to assert your rights, you should contact an experienced lawyer focused on employment law.

MKO Lawyers Win Appeal For Misclassified Employee

NOTICE: Information provided has come through clients through a variety of methods such as under oath testimony, affidavits, filings with a court of law, an administrative body, or public records. The statements should be taken as opinions only. As these are employment situations involving the potential violations of employment and labor law, they are protected speech, important to the public discourse, and vital to alerting other potential victims. MKO makes every effort to verify any claims made, generally rulings or findings are not final and are under appeal, most cases resolve through settlement without admission of guilt, and it is likely these claims will be disputed by the opposing party. MKO always invites a named party to provide clear and convincing evidence if a statement is false or misleading and we will modify the content, take down the content, provide space for a rebuttal, or take other action if deemed necessary. 


“Providing you a path forward in your life, career, and recovering the compensation you deserve.” 

MKO is a “boutique firm” which means that we focus on a niche area and offer highly specialized services to clients who are looking for the personal touch within our area of expertise: Employment Law. Boutique law firms are not a general practice or one-stop legal shop, and that’s a good thing. You need one good attorney who knows the ins and outs of the area of law that’s relevant to your case. Look for a law firm that primarily practices the area of law that you need. If that’s all they do, chances are, they do it very well. We see each legal dispute as an opportunity to find a fair and equitable resolution without destroying your reputation, resume, job prospects, income, and if avoidable, not subjecting you, your family, friends, and former coworkers to unnecessary, highly invasive, time consuming, stressful, and ultimately public litigation. MKO, “Providing you a path forward in your life, career, and recovering the compensation you deserve.™” Confidentiality is key, for everyone. Are you a victim? MKO’s employment lawyers are always available for the clients. You can contact us anytime for a case assessment and evaluation. 

Ten Reasons To Choose Our Law Firm

1. Focused Employment Law Practice

MKO is a “boutique law firm” which means that we concentrate on this niche area and offer highly focused employment law services to clients who are looking for the personal touch. Boutique law firms are not a one-stop legal shop, and that’s a good thing. While a long roster of diverse legal services may look impressive on paper, it’s fairly pointless in practice. You need one good attorney who knows the ins and outs of the area of law that’s relevant to your case.  Look for a law firm that only practices in the area of law that you need. If that’s all they do, chances are, they do it very well.

2. Technology Driven & Experts in the Cloud

We provide immediate legal consultations, operate a paperless law firm, use advanced cloud storage, digital signatures, electronic forms, and can review your documents using screen share technology instantaneously. MKO is technologically savvy, nimble, flexible, and efficient. 

We are not confined to our office, chained to a desktop computer, or burdened with IT maintenance. Thanks to the smart use of technology we can focus on providing our clients with the best representation possible. By streamlining our practice we can focus on what our clients hire us to do – advocate on their behalf and work diligently toward a desired result.

3. Legal Advice Instantly From The Comfort of Home

MKO can provide superior legal services through adapative use of new technology and provide the majority of legal assistance while you are comfortably working from your home. It just also happens it’s better, easier, and faster for our clients – they really appreciate it. We seemlessly and interactively collaborate with you in a relaxed enviornment where you have all of your files in your immediate control. We find this is the absolute best way to provide legal advice to our clients on complex legal issues, hands down.

The old style of coming into our office with binders of disjointed and unsearchable paperwork, of which we to organize and figure out on the fly, is incredibly wasteful, time-consuming, inefficient, and not highly productive. Because of our integration with technology, we are ready to work with you on highly intricate matters on a moments notice, no matter where you (or we) are.

4. Discreet When Necessary

While many cases require that we go to court to seek justice, there are a substantial number of disputes that need to be handled discreetly. We see each legal dispute as an opportunity to find a fair and equitable resolution without destroying your reputation, resume, job prospects, income, and if avoidable, not subjecting you, your family, friends, and former coworkers to unnecessary, highly invasive, time consuming, stressful, and ultimately public litigation. MKO, “Providing you a path forward in your life, career, and recovering the compensation you deserve.™”

Confidentiality is key, for everyone. 

5. Experience, Professional, & Integrity

Through representing and managing thousands of employment situations, rest assured there is help or a path forward for your situation. For example, Partner Christi Wallace has personally represented over 900 clients and has managed hundrends more for associates that worked for her in just the last 7 years!

6. Highly Responsive Attorneys

We always get the question, “If I choose to have you represent me, will it be difficult for me to get in touch with you?”

Absolutely not, we even make ourselves available to clients beyond our normal business hours! Futher, when you call us your attorney answers, not a secretary who puts you on hold for 20 minutes, then tells you that you can leave a voicemail for your attorney. Besides the MKO office phone number, our clients can contact their attorney via mobile, SMS & texting, business email, and an urgent emergency email. For example, we can often respond to a text message in just a few minutes. Experience a better, faster, and more efficient way to work with an attorney. MKO believes that clients can and should depend on the fact that we’ll respond quickly.

7. Attorneys Available 74+ Hours Per Week

Employment Attorneys are available at least 74 hours per week by phone, email, and text messaging. Don’t be fooled by marketing, many law firms are using non-attorney 3rd party answering services and advertising “Phones Answered 24 Hours A Day, 7 Days A Week.” We pick up our own phones, respond to our own emails and text messages, and use real attorneys, 74+ hours per week. 


8. Practical Advice From Seasoned Professionals

MKO strongly believes that every situation is distinctly unique and therefore we must endevour to find the right solution for that particular issue. Because we are a boutique employment law firm, we strive to find unique and innovation solutions for our clients in every circustance. We take action when necessary, put together deals when possible, and work with our clients so we can be creative and find smart solutions instead of needless litigation. We want to protect your interests now and in the future.

9. Contingency Representation

Contingency Legal Representation is where you do not have to pay your lawyer up front. This is fantastic if you are offered this option. Lawyers and litigation costs are incredibly expensive if you pay hourly. With contingency representation, you are not faced with large legal bills and expenses that are daunting and causes slow downs while waiting for a retainer to be replenished. Further, when you’re offering to pay anyone up front and hourly, it seems they’ll take almost any case – so long as they are getting paid. Funny how that works. Here’s how we help:

  • People can afford an attorney. – Without the benefit of contingency, it would be very difficult for a person who was recently seperated from their job to afford an employment lawyer.
  • MKO only gets paid if there is a recovery.  – We put our money where our mouth is, if we don’t get a recovery, you don’t owe legal fees and costs.
  • Contingency representation says something about your case. – Considering MKO only will get paid if there is a recovery, you can assume we like to cases that we believe have merit.
  • Helps people can move on with their lives – Instead of racking up debt to pay for legal help, our contingency representation lets you move on with your life as we deal with the legal stuff. This is exactly what MKO stands for, “Providing you a path forward in your life, career, and recovering the compensation you deserve.™”
10. Keeping Costs Low To Focus On Your Case

Our clients understand that their representation is are far more important than an expensive address. Some law firms might be battling an extremely burdensome and large cost overhead. In other words, to survive, they may need to be a “factory firm” or “volume practice” that needs to process a vast amount of cases to be able to afford their superfluous costs, expenses, and overheadWe aggressively keep costs down so we can focus on you.

Don’t want to be treated like an account number, a settlement figure, or a wheel that needs to be turned to keep the law firm getting paid? We keep our costs low and use this financial freedom for our clients best interests.

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Consultation Questions To Ask Your Employment Discrimination Lawyer

  • =What does an employment discrimination lawyer do?

  • =Do I need an employment lawyer?

  • =Can a discrimination attorney really help my case, even if I still work there?

  • =When should I hire an employment discrimination law firm? 

  • =Is discrimination really that common?

  • =How do you hire a discrimination attorney?

  • =How do I know when I need an employment lawyer?

  • =When should I address discrimination at the office?

  • =What is my discrimination case worth?

  • =Do I have a discrimination case?

I trusted Mr. Kraemer with a rather difficult period of time for my family, and we came out on top. He is trustworthy and honest, incredibly helpful, and understanding. Five stars aren’t enough! Him and his staff are well experienced, and won’t let up until the truth is known and justice is served. Michael, it’s been a pleasure. I hope I never need your services again! If I do, I will not hesitate to give you a call.

Bob B.


Halfway to legal help. If you don't get paid, neither do we. All you need to do is call MKO!

Employment Law Ready✔ ™

Michael Kraemer was the only lawyer who took my case and would be the only lawyer I’d rely on. He kept me informed and was very intellectual on the whole subject that my case was revolved around. I give Mr. Kraemer a 10 out of 10 and I would refer him and his associates to anyone who wants a well defined lawyer.

Andrew L.

Wrongful Termination

We help people fired, or soon to be fired, when they have been treated unfairly, illegally, or unjustly.

Medical Accommodations

Employees needing physical or mental health/wellness accommodations are protected.

Disability Discrimination

This is so broadly defined that most health conditions can be considered disabilities. 

Age Discrimination

For those over 40 years old (but older is preferred) that experience bias based on your age.

Employment Discrimination

Race, religion, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), orientation, disability.

EEOC or PHRC Agencies

Aggressive lawyering in the state and federal agencies can mean quick, quiet, and lucrative resolutions.

Professional Exit Strategies

Cut your losses or remove yourself from a bad workplace. You need an exit strategy.


Sexual Harassment

A range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or sexual assault. A highly serious offense.

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