One of the featured stories on Employment Law This Week – Epstein Becker Green’s new video program – is the increase in minimum wage laws across the country in 2016. Nationwide, activism around minimum wages has had a big impact on new legislation coming into effect this year. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia will raise their minimum wages in 2016. California and Massachusetts will have the highest state minimum wages at $10/hour. Some city governments have gone even higher. San Francisco employers and large Seattle employers who do not provide medical benefits will have to pay a minimum … Continue Reading
As we look towards the New Year, employers with locations in various jurisdictions should be mindful of state and local minimum wage increases that will soon take effect.
Some of these increases are a result of laws that tie wages to an economic index (generally the Consumer Price Index). Others are the result of recent legislation.
Below are two charts addressing these changes. The first summarizes the relevant changes for states; the second, for cities and other localities.
Please note that Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington all have CPI based wage laws, and all have … Continue Reading
On October 2, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1506, insulating employers from Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”)lawsuits based on employee wage statements if employers cure certain defects in the wage statements within 33 days of being put on notice of them.
The law is being celebrated by some as a major development that will significantly reduce the number of PAGA lawsuits filed against California employers. Unfortunately, there may be a bit of a misunderstanding about what the new law does and how far it reaches. While it is certainly a positive step for employers that will insulate them … Continue Reading
Although not widely reported, effective January 1, 2016, the District of Columbia joins New York City and San Francisco in requiring employers of 20 or more employees to offer qualified transportation benefits. By that date, covered D.C. employers who do not already do so must offer one of three transit benefit options.
Under the Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2014, Title III, Subtitle A, “Reducing Single Occupancy Vehicle Use by Encouraging Transit Benefits,” at D.C. Code §32-151, et seq., covered employers must “provide at least one of the following transportation benefit programs to its employees:”
- A benefit
Many of our clients have downloaded our free, first-of-its-kind Wage & Hour Guide for Employers app, available for Apple, Android, and BlackBerry devices.
We have just updated the app, and the update is a significant one.
While the app originally included summaries of federal wage-hour laws and those for several states and the District of Columbia, the app now includes wage-hour summaries for all 50 states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Now, more than ever, we can say that the app truly makes nationwide wage-hour information available in seconds. At a time when wage-hour litigation and agency … Continue Reading
On July 2, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a federal district court decision that held that unpaid interns should have been classified and paid as employees under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New York State Labor Law. Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., Nos. 13-4478-cv, 13-4481-cv (2d Cir. July 2, 2015). The Second Circuit’s decision provides valuable guidance to employers with unpaid interns.
In the case, the Second Circuit noted the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL’s”) 1967 and 2010 informal guidance on “trainees” and “interns” respectively, and specifically … Continue Reading
On January 29, 2015, the California Court of Appeal published its long-awaited decision in Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., reversing a near-$90 million judgment awarded in the favor of a certified class of current and former security guards on rest period claims. The decision is a welcome development for California employers, particularly those who ask employees to remain on-call while on breaks in case they are needed.
The Court of Appeal explained that the trial court’s judgment had rested on the false premise “that California law requires employers to relieve their workers of all duty during rest breaks.”… Continue Reading
On January 14, 2015, in Hargrove v. Sleepy’s LLC, the New Jersey Supreme Court answered a certified question from the Third Circuit and held that the “ABC” test governs whether a plaintiff is an employee or an independent contractor under the New Jersey Wage Payment Law and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law.
Therefore, companies defending their independent contractor classifications in either litigation or government investigations under these statutes will be required to show that an individual providing services:
(A) is free from the company’s control in performing the services;
(B) performs work outside the usual course of … Continue Reading
On January 12, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc. While it will have no impact upon most employers, it is a decision that will have significant impact on some. It may well lead to the filings of class action lawsuits against some employers alleging that they did not pay employees for sleep time – lawsuits those employers now may have great difficulty defending.
To the surprise of some, the Court concluded that security guards who are assigned 24-hour shifts, but sleep 8 of those hours, must be compensated for the entire … Continue Reading
Our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green have released an advisory that will be of interest, particularly to New York employers: “New York Wage Theft Prevention Act Update: Annual Notice Requirement Is Removed for 2015,” by Susan Gross Sholinsky, William J. Milani, Jeffrey M. Landes, Dean L. Silverberg, Nancy L. Gunzenhauser, and Kate B. Rhodes.
Following is an excerpt:
On December 29, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the long-awaited amendment (“Amendment”) to the Wage Theft Prevention Act (“WTPA” or “Act”) and a chapter memorandum. Notably, the Amendment and the chapter memorandum abolish the annual notice requirement for 2015. The text … Continue Reading
On December 22, 2014, the District of Columbia federal district court vacated a new U.S. Department of Labor regulation, scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2015, barring third-party employers from claiming minimum wage and overtime exemptions for “companionship” domestic service workers, as well as a statutory overtime exemption for live-in domestic service employees.
In his scathing opinion in Home Care Association of America v. Weil, Judge Richard J. Leon pointed out that the United States Supreme Court has already rejected “a challenge to the validity of the long-standing inclusion of employees paid by third parties within the companionship … Continue Reading
As our readers know, for the purposes of certain blog entries, I have unilaterally declared that I am the Secretary of Labor.
- The “computer professional” exemption applies to anyone with a salary of at least $800 per week whose primary duty requires “highly specialized knowledge of computers and software.” The exemption now includes employees who provide help desk services, troubleshooting support, or who install hardware or software.
- In regard to New York law, building owners who provide free apartments to their janitors can still count the value of the apartment as wages. However, that value is
by Michael Kun
We’re very pleased to announce that a brand-new version of our free, first-of-its-kind app, the Wage & Hour Guide for Employers, is now available for Apple, Android, and BlackBerry devices. The new app takes advantage of a software-as-a-service programming platform developed by Panvista Mobile.
Our newest version of the app is not only available to users of a variety of devices, but it offers simpler, faster, and more useful ways for employers to locate wage and hour information at the touch of a fingertip. As new issues are constantly emerging in this area, we’re pleased to … Continue Reading
By: Amy Messigian
In a major blow to California employers who utilize a monthly commission scheme but pay biweekly or semimonthly salary to their commission sales employees, the California Supreme Court ruled earlier this week in Peabody v. Time Warner Cable, Inc. that a commission payment may be applied only to the pay period in which it is paid for the purposes of determining whether an employee is exempt from overtime. Employers may not divide the commission payment across multiple pay periods in order to satisfy the minimum compensation threshold for meeting the exemption in any earlier pay period. California … Continue Reading
President Obama has spent much of his second term zealously pursuing an increase to the current $7.25 federal minimum hourly wage. While it is not clear whether a federal wage hike is in the offing, many states have recently taken measures to increase their own minimum wage rates. Effective January 1, 2014, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have all increased their minimum wage rates. There are also five additional states, California, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia, plus the District of Columbia, which have passed legislation … Continue Reading
By Michael Kun
Much has already been written about last week’s California Supreme Court decision in Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, a greatly anticipated ruling that will have a substantial impact upon wage-hour class actions in California for years to come. Much more will be written about the decision as attorneys digest it, as parties rely on it in litigation, and as the courts attempt to apply it.
In a lengthy and unanimous opinion, the California Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision to reverse a $15 million trial award in favor of a class of employees … Continue Reading
On May 5, 2014, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill increasing the minimum wage to $10.10, in 5 steps by July 1, 2018. This follows recent legislation in suburban Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s counties that will increase county minimum wages to $11.50 in various steps by October 1, 2017. (See our January 20, 2014 blog post.)
Employers in Maryland now face three different local minimum wage requirements, in addition to those imposed by federal law.
Under the new Maryland law, the general state minimum wage, currently the federal minimum of $7.25, will increase to … Continue Reading
New Jersey voters have approved a ballot question that will raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour, and to provide for future increases based on changes in the consumer price index.
After Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the minimum wage increase earlier this year, both houses of the New Jersey Legislature approved a referendum on the issue. Accordingly, voters were asked:
Do you approve amending the State Constitution to set a State minimum wage rate of at least $8.25 per hour? The amendment also requires annual increases in that rate if there are … Continue Reading
By Douglas Weiner
Last month, we released our Wage and Hour Division Investigation Checklist for employers and have received terrific feedback with additional questions. Following up on your questions, we will be regularly posting FAQs as a regular feature of our Wage & Hour Defense Blog.
In this post, we address an increasingly common issue that many employers are facing in light of aggressive government enforcement at the state and federal level from the Department of Labor.
QUESTION: If a DOL team of Wage Hour Investigators arrive unannounced demanding the immediate production of payroll and tax records and access to … Continue Reading
By Michael Kun
We have written previously in this blog about California’s obscure “suitable seating” law, which requires that some employers provide “suitable seating” to some employees.
In short, the plaintiffs’ bar recently discovered a provision buried in California’s Wage Orders requiring employers to provide “suitable seating” to employees when the nature of their jobs would reasonably permit it. Although the provision was written to cover employees who normally worked in a seated position with equipment, machinery or other tools, employers in a variety of industries have been hit with class actions alleging that they have violated those provisions – … Continue Reading
By: Kara M. Maciel
Earlier this month, we released our Wage and Hour Division Investigation Checklist for employers and have received a lot of great feedback with additional questions. Following up on that feedback, we will be regularly posting FAQs as a regular feature of our Wage & Hour Defense Blog.
In this post, we address a common issue that many employers are facing in light of increased government enforcement at the state and federal level from the Department of Labor.
QUESTION: “I am aware that my industry is being targeted by the DOL for audits and several of my competitors … Continue Reading
By Michael Kun
As we have written before in this space, the latest wave of class actions in California is one alleging that employers have not complied with obscure requirements requiring the provision of “suitable seating” to employees – and that employees are entitled to significant penalties as a result.
The “suitable seating” provisions are buried so deep in Wage Orders that most plaintiffs’ attorneys were not even aware of them until recently. Importantly, they do not require all employers to provide seats to all employees. Instead, they provide that employers shall provide “suitable seats when the nature … Continue Reading
On December 17, 2012, in Crocker v Townsend Oil, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court invalidated a settlement agreement, waiver and release to the extent it purported to release claims under the Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws, but did not expressly include that statute by name among the claims being released. Specifically, the Court held:
We…conclude that a settlement or contract termination agreement by an employee that includes a general release, purporting to release all possible existing claims will be enforceable as to the statutorily provided rights and remedies conferred by the Wage Act only if … Continue Reading
By Michael Kun
Employers with operations in California have become aware in recent years of an obscure provision in California Wage Orders that requires “suitable seating” for some employees. Not surprisingly, many became aware of this provision through the great many class action lawsuits filed by plaintiffs’ counsel who also just discovered the provision. The law on this issue is scant. However, at least two pending cases should clarify whether and when employers must provide seats – a case against Bank of America that is currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, and a case against K-Mart that is … Continue Reading