BECKLEY – A man is suing Lowe’s Home Centers after he claims it violated various state and federal laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Darin Viars began working for the defendant in 1999 and regularly provided installation services to Lowe’s customers in Fayetteville, Beckley, Princeton and Lewisburg, according to a complaint originally filed in Raleigh Circuit Court and removed to federal court on Jan. 12.
Viars claims he was a Lowe’s installer and signed an installer contract and was required to comply with each of the terms and conditions in the contract.
The plaintiff was required to refer all leads to Lowe’s and was not allowed to bid on work even if it was outside of the scope of work Lowe’s provided, according to the suit.
Viars claimed the defendant’s employees regularly inspected his work and scored his craftsmanship and he was threatened with termination if his scores fell below a certain level. He was paid by the job pursuant to a schedule of flat rates set by Lowe’s.
The plaintiff had to devote approximately 70 hours per week to fulfilling his duties and responsibilities owed to Lowe’s under the terms of the installer’s contract and was unable to develop and maintain a book of business independent of the defendant, according to the suit.
Viars claims because of this, Lowe’s and its customers were his main source of income.
Lowe’s improperly misclassified Viars, violating the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation laws, wage laws and unemployment compensation laws, according to the suit.
Viars claims the defendant unfairly profited from its relationship with the plaintiff by avoiding costs and expenses that Lowe’s forced him to bear. Viars was recently terminated from further work for Lowe’s.
The defendant failed to pay overtime wages and violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the suit. Lowe’s was also unjustly enriched at Viars’ expense.
Viars is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Kristina Thomas Whiteaker and David L. Grubb of The Grubb Law Group.
Lowe’s is represented by Eric W. Iskra and Ellen J. Vance of Spilman Thomas & Battle.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 5:18-cv-00041