Thank you to all the registered behavior technicians and board-certified assistant behavior analysts who reached out to us. This investigation has now been closed.
If you are still interested in pursuing legal recourse, we encourage you to speak with an attorney. We cover some of the resources available when it comes to finding and researching attorneys in this blog post.
You can also read up on your rights when it comes to overtime pay on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website here and check out our list of open investigations here.
At A Glance
This Alert Affects:
Registered behavior technicians (RBTs) and board-certified assistant behavior analysts (BCaBAs) who work more than 40 hours a week without overtime pay and/or who have been classified as independent contractors.
What’s Going On?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether companies that provide therapy services to children and teens with autism, including Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, are paying their behavior technicians and assistant analysts properly. If not, class action lawsuits could be filed against companies suspected of breaking the law.
How Could a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
If filed and successful, class action lawsuits could provide workers with money for unpaid overtime. It could also force changes to the way the company pays its employees.
If you work or have worked as a registered behavior technician (RBT) or board-certified assistant behavior analyst (BCaBA) for a company that provides therapy services to children and teens with autism, including Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, attorneys working with ClassAction.org want to hear from you.
They’re investigating whether these companies are paying their behavior technicians and assistant behavior analysts properly and, if not, whether class action lawsuits can be filed to address any illegal pay practices.
How Could I Have Missed out on Wages?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org have reason to suspect some behavior technicians and assistant behavior analysts are being cheated out of overtime pay. This may be because they’re working off the clock without pay or because they’ve been wrongfully classified as independent contractors rather than employees.
It is suspected that some companies that provide ABA therapy are only paying RBTs and BCaBAs for time spent with patients – and not for other job-related tasks, which may include:
Creating and maintaining client treatment notes
Completing insurance paperwork
Conferring with supervising board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs)
Meeting with supervising BCBAs to discuss performance of the team, client inquiries and feedback, and miscellaneous requests
Providing non-ABA therapy services to a client that the employer does not or cannot bill insurance for
Meeting with a client’s family regarding progress outside of billable ABA blocks
Traveling between client locations (e.g., home or school)
Waiting for clients to show up to scheduled appointments
Traveling to and from canceled appointments
Reading and responding to company emails
If an employee is not getting paid for all job-related tasks, they’re not only missing out on regular wages, but also time-and-a-half overtime pay should their total weekly hours surpass 40.
It’s important to keep in mind that all time spent working must be paid, regardless of whether the employee is clocked in or not.
Independent Contractor Misclassification
Some RBTs and BCaBAs may also be getting misclassified as independent contractors. Companies who hire independent contractors don’t have to pay payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance or unemployment – and they don’t have to provide these workers with the minimum wage or overtime pay.
There is therefore a financial incentive for a company to call a worker an independent contractor rather than an employee.
Just because your employer calls you an independent contractor, however, doesn’t mean that you are one. There is a strict set of criteria a worker must meet before they can be legally classified as an independent contractor.
In a 2020 handbook published by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, the organization advised that because registered behavior technicians are not “independent practitioner[s] with control over how his/her duties are performed…an RBT would almost never qualify as an independent contractor as defined by the IRS.”
Furthermore, attorneys believe that registered behavior technicians who cannot deviate from prescribed treatment plans and who operate under strict supervision cannot be deprived of time-and-a-half pay under one of the federal overtime exemptions.
What Other Job Titles Could Be Affected?
In addition to RBTs and BCaBAs, attorneys working with ClassAction.org would like to speak to those who held any of the following job titles, provided autism therapy to children and/or teens, and were not paid for overtime work or were classified as independent contractors.
Licensed Behavioral Analyst
How Could a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
If filed and successful, class action lawsuits could help workers get back any wages they were entitled to but never received – including time-and-a-half overtime pay. Furthermore, it could help ensure workers are paid properly in the future.