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Top Issues of 2016 – Featured in Employment Law This Week

The new episode of Employment Law This Week offers a year-end roundup of the biggest employment, workforce, and management issues in 2016:

  • Impact of the Defend Trade Secrets Act
  • States Called to Ban Non-Compete Agreements
  • Paid Sick Leave Laws Expand
  • Transgender Employment Law
  • Uncertainty Over the DOL’s Overtime Rule and Salary Thresholds
  • NLRB Addresses Joint Employment
  • NLRB Rules on Union Organizing

Watch the episode below and read EBG’s Take 5 newsletter, “Top Five Employment, Labor & Workforce Management Issues of 2016.”

Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Award Of Fees Against The Department Of Labor Shows That Even The Government Is Not Immune To Sanctions

Practitioners know how difficult it is to obtain an award of fees against the government. However, in an opinion in which the Court states at the outset, “the government here chose to defend the indefensible in an indefensible manner,” the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has awarded attorneys’ fees to an employer in a wage-hour dispute based on the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) bad faith– both in pursuing a legally indefensible case and in the conduct of the litigation.

The case, Gate Guard Services, L.P. v. Perez, 792 F.3d 554 (5th Cir. 2015), is an unusual one But … Continue Reading

October 15: Attend Epstein Becker Green’s Workforce Management Briefing – High Stakes and High Priorities

34th Annual Workforce Management Briefing Banner

When:  Thursday, October 15, 2015    8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where:  New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019

This year, Epstein Becker Green’s Annual Workforce Management Briefing focuses on the latest developments that impact employers nationwide, featuring senior officials from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We will also take a close look at the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its growing impact on the workplace.

In addition, we are excited to welcome our keynote speaker Neil Cavuto, Senior Vice President, Managing Editor, … Continue Reading

Strategic Use of Arbitration Agreements in FLSA Context Gets Boost

In a case that has strategic implications for employers’ use of arbitration agreements in response to collective claims brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the Eighth Circuit has held that former servers at an Arkansas pizzeria chain lack standing to challenge the pizzeria’s enforcement of an arbitration agreement that bars current employees from joining the FLSA collective action.  Conners v. Gusano’s Chi. Style Pizzeria, No. 14-1829 (8th Cir. Mar. 9, 2015).

In Conners, the plaintiff filed a proposed collective action lawsuit on behalf of herself and other restaurant servers, alleging Gusano’s maintained an illegal tip pool … Continue Reading

California Employers Must Revisit Exempt Status of Commissioned Employees In Light of Supreme Court Ruling

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

Be Careful You Don’t Make Your Vendor’s Employees Your Employees

 By Michael Kun

              You run a supermarket.  You contract with a janitorial company to come in every night to clean the aisles after you close.

               You run an ad agency.  You retain a contractor to handle your mailroom.

               You run a law firm.  You bring in a company to update the books in your law library.

               You run a hotel.  You contract with a van service to shuttle your guests to and from the airport. 

               Whatever business you are in, you are bound to enter into contracts with vendors to provide a variety of services. … Continue Reading

New York State Releases Proposed Wage Deduction Regulations

By: Dean Silverberg, Bill Milani, Jeffrey Landes, Susan Gross Sholinsky, Anna Cohen, and Jennifer Goldman

The New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently published its long-awaited proposed regulations (“Proposed Regulations“) pertaining to the newly expanded categories of permissible wage deductions pursuant to the New York State Labor Law (“Labor Law”). As we previously reported (see the Act Now Advisory entitled “New York Labor Law Significantly Expands the Scope of Permissible Wage Deductions“), the amendments to Section 193 of the Labor Law (“Section 193”), which govern permissible wage deductions, became effective … Continue Reading

DOL Tip Pooling Rule Held Invalid by Federal Court

By: Kara Maciel and Jordan Schwartz

As discussed in prior blogs, due to confusion surrounding FLSA tip pool requirements, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Division enacted a strict rule in 2011 related to proper tip pooling and service charge practices. This rule was met with swift legal challenges, and earlier this week the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon concluded that the DOL had exceeded its authority when implementing its final rule. See Oregon Rest. and Lodging Assn. v. Solis, No. 3:12-cv-01261 (D. Or. June 7, 2013).

Inconsistent interpretations of the FLSA among … Continue Reading

Are Your Employees Entitled to Leave to Vote?

By Elizabeth Bradley

With Election Day tomorrow, employers must be prepared to respond to employees’ request for time off to vote.  While there are no federal laws that require such leave, many states require that employees be provided with leave to vote.  Some states, such as California, Maryland and New York, require this leave to be paid.  Failing to comply with these requirements could result in financial penalties.

As illustrated below, state requirements vary greatly with regard to whether the leave must be paid, when employees are eligible for the leave, the length of the permissible leave, and whether notice … Continue Reading

New York Labor Law Significantly Expands the Scope of Permissible Wage Deductions

Jeff Landes, Bill Milani, Susan Gross Sholinsky, Dean Silverberg, Anna Cohen, and Jennifer Goldman have prepared an Act Now Advisory on the amendment to Section 193 of New York’s Labor Law, which is scheduled to take effect on Nov. 6, 2012. The amendment expands the list of employee wage deductions that New York employers may lawfully make, so long as the employee authorizes such deductions.

 … Continue Reading

Tip Pools: Challenging DOL’s Amended Rule on Employee Participation

By:  Kara M. Maciel

In April of 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) changed its rule defining the general characteristics of tips in an attempt to overrule the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Cumbie v. Woody Woo, Inc. ruling that the FLSA does not impose any restrictions on the kinds of employees who may participate in a valid tip pool where the employer does not claim the “tip credit.” 

DOL’s Recent Position on Tip Pool Participation

The DOL’s amended rule provides that tips are the property of the employees, and may not be used … Continue Reading

New California Supreme Court Decision Will Affect Whether And When Parties Obtain Witness Statements In Litigation, Particularly In Class Actions

By Michael Kun

On Monday, June 25, 2011, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Coito v. Superior Court, addressing the issue of whether a party in litigation could rely upon the work product doctrine to withhold witness statements obtained by its attorneys or the identities of persons who had given such statements. 

In short, while parties in California have long relied upon dicta in the Court of Appeal decision known as  Nacht v. Lewis for the proposition that such information is protected from disclosure by the work product doctrine, case-by-case determinations will now be required … Continue Reading

24 Epstein Becker Green Attorneys Honored by Chambers USA – Firm Wins the Award for Excellence in Healthcare

Epstein Becker Green is proud to announce that it has received the 2012 Chambers USA Award for Excellence in the Healthcare category. The results were announced at an awards dinner held on Thursday, June 7, 2012, in New York. Other firms nominated in the Healthcare category included Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; Hogan Lovells US LLP; King & Spalding LLP; McDermott Will & Emery LLP; Ober Kaler Grimes & Shriver PC; and Proskauer Rose LLP.

The Chambers USA Awards for Excellence are based on research for the 2012 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and … Continue Reading

Legal 500 Recognizes Epstein Becker Green for Its Work in the Health Care Industry and Labor and Employment

The Legal 500 United States, now in its 26th year, collects feedback from more than 180,000 in-house counsel and lawyers to select the leading law firms and lawyers in specific legal practice areas and industries.  The Legal 500 is an independent guide, and firms and individuals are recommended purely on merit. 

In 2012, both of Epstein Becker Green’s founding practices – Health Care and Life Sciences and Labor and Employment – as well as several individual attorneys, were recognized as leaders in their fields of practice.

For more information about the ranking and to read excerpts from the Legal Continue Reading

California Court Denies Certification of Misclassification, Meal Period and Rest Period Claims against Joe’s Crab Shack Restaurants

By Kara Maciel and Aaron Olsen

After five years of litigation, a Los Angeles Superior Court has denied class certification of a class action against Joe’s Crab Shack Restaurants on claims that it managers were misclassified as exempt and denied meal and rest periods in violation of California law.  The court found that the plaintiffs had not established adequacy of class representatives, typicality, commonality or superiority, and emphasized a defendant’s due process right to provide individualized defenses to class members’ claims.

Because the case was handled by our colleagues in our Los Angeles office, we think it best not to … Continue Reading

The Discretion to Formulate Business Strategies Remains Critical to the Status of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives

By:  Michael Thompson

In Ibanez v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued the latest ruling in the ongoing dispute over whether pharmaceutical sales representatives are exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA. 

The plaintiff in Ibanez was a former sales representative for Abbott.  Among other things, the plaintiff helped create “business plans which tracked doctors by market share and potential.”  The plaintiff also developed “game plan[s] or strateg[ies] for individual calls with physicians.”  Thus, the District Court ruled that the plaintiff exercised significant independent discretion, and therefore fell within the Administrative exemption of the FLSA. … Continue Reading

Reminder to New York Employers: Annual Notices Under the Wage Theft Prevention Act Must Be Distributed Between January 1 and February 1, 2012

by William J. Milani, Jeffrey M. Landes, Susan Gross Sholinsky, and Jennifer A. Goldman

For the first time, in 2012, New York employers must provide all New York employees with an annual notice and acknowledgment of pay rate and pay date ("Notice") pursuant to the Wage Theft Prevention Act ("WTPA"), which amended the New York State Labor Law ("Labor Law"), effective April 9, 2011.

As we previously reported (see Act Now Advisory "Governor Paterson Signs Overhaul of New York State Labor Law" (Dec. 15, 2010), and Act Now Advisory "They’re Here – New York Continue Reading

Nurses Held Exempt Under New Jersey Wage and Hour Law

By Daniel R. Levy

On November 16, 2011, the New Jersey Appellate Division held that registered nurses are exempt from overtime compensation under the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (“NJWHL”), N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a1 to 56a30, even if paid on an hourly basis, because they fall within the “professional” exemption. Anderson v. Phoenix Health Care, Inc., A-2607-10T2 (N.J. App. Div. Nov. 16, 2011). The Court further held that, even if registered nurses were not exempt, a claim for overtime compensation may nevertheless fail under the NJWHL’s good faith exception, N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a25.2, if the employer establishes that it conformed to the Division … Continue Reading

Vacating Chinese Daily News, The U.S. Supreme Court Signals That Wal-Mart Extends To Wage-Hour Cases

By Michael Kun, Regina Musolino and Aaron Olsen

Since the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, attorneys have debated the scope and impact of the decision.  Not surprisingly, plaintiffs’ counsel have argued that the decision was limited to its facts, or to discrimination cases, or to cases involving nationwide claims.  And they have argued that Wal-Mart has no application whatsoever to wage-hour class actions and collective actions.  In only a few words, the Supreme Court may have answered some of these questions.

Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court quietly vacated a $7.7 … Continue Reading

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