Combating Fraud and Misclassification: Mark v. O.P.E.N. America, Inc. d/b/a OPENWORKS

Towards Justice represents Ruth Mark and a proposed class of cleaning workers employed by OpenWorks. OpenWorks is a cleaning company, but it claims not to employ cleaners. Instead, it requires its workers—many of whom are recent immigrants to the United States—to incorporate into separate LLCs and enter into franchise agreements under which they purportedly operate as independent companies. OpenWorks’s misclassification of its employees not only allows OpenWorks to skirt state and federal labor and employment laws. It also allows it to charge its workers predatory franchise fees and other costs, many of which it finances for its workers, thus indenturing them to OpenWorks with extraordinary debt that often exceeds what OpenWorks’s workers are able to earn through their work. OpenWorks recruits its workers with the false promise that they will own a successful and independent business. Towards Justice’s clients assert fraud and misclassification claims against OpenWorks.

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Our litigators help workers advance legal claims that address systemic injustice. We use antitrust, anti-slavery, fraud, wage-and-hour, and common-law challenges to address the wide variety of practices that nickel-and-dime low-wage workers out of their hard-earned wages. We have represented a hundred thousand childcare workers alleging wage suppression, tens of thousands of immigrant detainees alleging forced labor, and hundreds of construction workers, shepherds, manicurists, janitors, and kitchen hood cleaners. We are leaders in challenging anti-competitive practices that reduce worker bargaining power and support marginalized people who challenge structural impediments to their advancement.

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