Wage and Hour Defense Blog

Wage and Hour Defense Blog

Tag Archives: overtime

Improper Expense Reimbursements may be a “Shadow Wage”

By Michael D. Thompson

A recent decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals examined the question of whether expense reimbursements were actually "shadow wages" that should have been included when calculating an employee’s overtime rate.

In Newman v. Advanced Technology Innovation Corp., the plaintiffs were non-exempt engineers who worked remotely. Each plaintiff signed an agreement with Advanced Tech under which they were to receive (i) an hourly wage, (ii) overtime at a rate more than one-and-a-half times the hourly wage, and (iii) a "per diem expense reimbursement" in light of their remote work assignments.

The plaintiffs claimed that the per diem was “tied to … Continue Reading

President Seeks Increase to Salary Threshold for Exempt Status

By Brian Steinbach

True to its word, the Obama administration is continuing its effort to do administratively what it cannot achieve legislatively.

While efforts to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour are mired in the Congress, the administration on March 13 announced that it has instructed the Secretary of Labor to “update” and “simplify” the regulations defining who is considered an exempt employee not entitled to overtime pay. These regulations were most recently overhauled in 2004.

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“Regulations regarding exemptions … for executive, administrative, and professional employees (often referred to as "white collar" exemptions) have not kept up with our modern economy.”  - Barack Obama
Regulations “for executive, administrative, and professional employees (often referred to as ‘white collar’ exemptions) have not kept up with our modern economy.”               

California “Daily Overtime” Inapplicable Under Collective Bargaining Agreement

By Aaron Olsen and Michael Kun

In California, employers typically must pay overtime to non-exempt employees at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rates of pay not only when those employees work more than 40 hours in a week, but also when they work more than eight hours in a day.  That requirement is known as “daily overtime.”  (And employers must pay “double time” when non-exempt employees work more than 12 hours in a day.  But that is a different issue, for a different day.)

In a new decision issued on January 22, 2014, the California Court … Continue Reading

Texas Health Care Provider’s Miscalculation of Overtime Pay Proves Costly

By: Kara Maciel and Jordan Schwartz

On September 16, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that Harris Health System (“Harris”), a Houston health care provider of emergency, outpatient and inpatient medical services, has agreed to pay more than $4 million in back wages and damages to approximately 4,500 current and former employees for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and recordkeeping provisions. The DOL made this announcement after its Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) completed a more than two-year investigation into the company’s payment system prompted by claims that employees were not being fully compensated.

Under … Continue Reading

With No Guaranteed Minimum, Employee That Received Unvarying Base Pay Was Not Exempt Under California Law

By Andrew J. Sommer

There has been a lack of clarity in California wage and hour law on how compensation must be structured to meet the “salary basis test,” particularly where an exempt employee is paid based on hours worked. However, in Negri v. Koning & Associates, the California Court of Appeal addressed this very issue and concluded that a compensation scheme based solely upon the number of hours worked, with no guaranteed minimum, is not considered a “salary” for the purpose of state overtime laws. 

Under California law, an employee exempt from overtime laws must regularly receive “a monthly … Continue Reading

Work at Home Overtime Claim Blocked by Employer’s Timekeeping Systems

By Evan J. Spelfogel

In recent years employees have asserted claims for time allegedly worked away from their normal worksites, on their Blackberries, iPhones or personal home computers.  Until now, employers have been faced with the nearly impossible task of proving that their employees did not perform the alleged work.  The US Department of Labor and plaintiffs’ attorneys have taken advantage of the well-established obligation of employers to make and maintain accurate records of the hours worked by their non-exempt employees, and to pay for all work “suffered or permitted” to be performed.

Now, the United States Court of … Continue Reading

Modifying Workweeks to Avoid Overtime: Employers Should Still Proceed With Caution

By:  Elizabeth Bradley

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently confirmed that the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) does not prohibit an employer from modifying its workweek in order to avoid overtime costs. The Court’s ruling in Redline Energy confirms that employers are permitted to modify their workweeks as long as the change is intended to be permanent. Employers are not required to set forth a legitimate business reason for making the change and are permitted to do so solely for the purpose of reducing their overtime costs. The only requirement on employers is that the change … Continue Reading

Navigating the Murky Waters of FLSA Compliance

On September 19, 2012, several members of EBG’s Wage and Hour practice group will be presenting a briefing and webinar on FLSA compliance.  In 2012, a record number of federal wage and hour lawsuits were filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), demonstrating that there is no end in sight to the number of class and collective actions filed against employers. Claims continue to be filed, raising issues of misclassification of employees, alleged uncompensated "work" performed off the clock, and miscalculation of overtime pay for non-exempt workers.

In this interactive briefing and live webinar, we will discuss the recent … Continue Reading

California One Step Closer to Mandating Overtime and Meal Periods for Private Home Housekeepers and Babysitters

By:  Adam C. Abrahms

Last week Assembly Bill 889 cleared a California State Senate Committee, advancing it one step closer to becoming state law.  The bill, authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D – San Francisco), seeks to extend most of California’s strict wage and hour regulations to domestic employees working in private homes.  While the bill excludes babysitters under the age of 18, it extends California wage and hour protections to babysitters over the age of 18 as well as any other housekeeper, nanny, caregiver or other domestic worker.

Should the bill become law individual Californians and California families who … Continue Reading

Compensating Non-Exempt Employees for Completing Web-Based Training

By:  Kara M. Maciel and Casey Cosentino

We were recently asked by a client to provide guidance on the wage and hour issues associated with company-provided on-line training programs for non-exempt employees.  Questions were raised as to when the training is "voluntary" and whether the time must be compensated if the training is completed at home using a personal computer.  The answer stems from federal wage and hour law, which provides that such time is likely compensable for non-exempt employees.     

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to compensate employees for all hours worked regardless if the work performed is on or off the job site. Consequently, most time employees … 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

Sullivan v. Oracle Corporation: Non-Residents Who Perform Work in California Are Governed By California Wage Hour Laws – Including Daily Overtime Rules

By Michael Kun and Betsy Johnson

In a much-anticipated decision, the California Supreme Court has expanded the scope of California’s complex wage-hour laws to non-resident employees who perform work in California.  While the decision leaves more than a few questions unanswered, it will require a great many employers to review their overtime and other payroll practices.  Perhaps just as importantly, it will likely open the door to lawsuits, including class actions, regarding  prior overtime and payroll practices.

The case, Sullivan v. Oracle, has had a tortured history.  In the case, several Arizona and Colorado residents who were employed as … Continue Reading

Wage & Hour Division Continues Enforcement Actions against Virginia Hotels

By:  Kara M. Maciel

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in Norfolk, Virginia has announced that it will be stepping up its compliance audits and enforcement efforts against area hotels. In the past few years, the DOL stated it found violations at about 60% of local hotels. According to the DOL, the agency recently made spot checks at 10 area hotels since April. This is just one part of the agency’s nationwide enforcement program and its “Plan/Prevent/Protect” initiative against the hospitality industry. Common violations assessed by the DOL include:

·         Payment of overtime. Under the FLSA, employees are entitled to overtime for … Continue Reading

DOL’s Failures Leave Workers with Nowhere to Turn? Not in Florida

A report by the Government Accountability Office found that the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the federal agency charged with enforcing minimum wage, overtime and other labor laws, "is failing in that role, leaving millions of workers vulnerable," according to an article in today’s New York Times.

One of the reports concerned the Division’s office in Miami:

When an undercover agent posing as a dishwasher called four times to complain about not being paid overtime for 19 weeks, the division’s office in Miami failed to return his calls for four months, and when it did, the report … Continue Reading

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