The Biden Administration continues to increase administrative agency enforcement initiatives.

In a recent press release, the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) announced that it now offers new resources “to help combat employer retaliation against workers who exercise their legal rights.” One of those resources is a Field Assistance Bulletin on “Protecting Workers from Retaliation” (“Bulletin”).

Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor Issues Field Assistance Bulletin on “Protecting Workers from Retaliation”

As COVID-19 restrictions have continued to loosen or be lifted altogether, employees have gradually resumed working in the office—and traveling away from it for work-related reasons.  When it comes to travel time in the employment context, the answer to the question, “Do I need to pay for that?” often has no straightforward answer.  Rather, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) regulations, whether time an employee spends traveling is compensable depends on the type of travel.  In this month’s Time Is Money segment, we provide a refresher on when and how employers must pay employees for travel time.

Continue Reading Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Travel Time Pay

Earlier this month, Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill (SB) 47, which formally adopted sections of the Portal-to-Portal Act (Portal Act) amendments to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), exempting employers from paying overtime under certain circumstances. SB 47 also eliminates so-called “hybrid” collective/class actions for Ohio plaintiffs by adopting the FLSA’s “opt-in” requirement for individuals seeking to join a wage and hour lawsuit on Ohio state law claims for failure to pay overtime. The law takes effect on July 6, 2022.

Portal-to-Portal Act

Continue Reading Ohio Enacts Changes to Overtime Exemption Laws and Class/Collective Action Procedures

In a recent post addressing the U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana, we mentioned that employers in California will want to consider the “pros and cons” of arbitration agreements should an employer-friendly decision be issued in that case, rather than rush to implement them.

In response, more than a few people have asked the same or similar questions — What are the “cons” of arbitration agreements? Why wouldn’t an employer want to use arbitration agreements, particularly if they will foreclose Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) actions in California?

There are “cons” to these agreements — and they are not insignificant.

Continue Reading The Pros – and Cons – of Arbitration Agreements with Class Action Waivers

Silence can be telling.

That is especially so in the legal industry.

In the context of a hearing or oral argument, if judges or justices don’t ask an attorney a question, it can be incredibly encouraging – or incredibly discouraging.  It often means that the judges or justices have already made up their minds after having read the parties’ briefs and simply don’t have any questions or don’t need to hear anything more.

Continue Reading Did the Supreme Court Oral Argument on Viking River Cruises Signal a Coming Sea Change for California Employment Law?

As discussed here, in January 2021, in the waning days of the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a Final Rule setting forth for the first time a standard for differentiating employees and independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The scheduled effective date of the new rule was March 8, 2021.

Continue Reading Federal Court Reinstates Trump-Era Independent Contractor Rule

Neither fish nor fowl
Salaried with overtime
Brings pain and regret

We don’t see a lot of wage and hour poetry these days, but if we did, it would probably look a bit like the foregoing example from an anonymous former U.S. Department of Labor official.  When it comes to paying office workers who do not qualify for an overtime exemption, businesses often look for ways to treat those workers as much like exempt personnel as possible, including by paying wages in the form of a salary rather than hourly pay.  Salaried nonexempt status ordinarily starts with good motives, but it frequently ends with claims for unpaid overtime.  In this month’s Time Is Money segment, we explain that although paying overtime-eligible employees on a salary basis is a lawful, available option, it comes with significant risks that an employer must understand and navigate in order to pay these workers correctly.

Continue Reading Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Salaried Nonexempt Status

Years ago, Epstein Becker Green (“EBG”) created its free wage-hour app, putting federal, state, and local wage-laws at employers’ fingertips.

The app provides important information about overtime exemptions, minimum wages, overtime, meal periods, rest periods, on-call time, travel time, and tips.

As the laws have changed, so, too, has EBG’s free wage-hour app, which is updated to reflect those developments.

Continue Reading Epstein Becker Green’s Free Wage-Hour App Includes 2022 Changes to Federal, State, and Local Laws

A number of years ago, I received a kind note around the holidays from my opposing counsel in a wage-hour class action, thanking me and my firm for being their “partners” in addressing employment issues.

Maybe the word he used wasn’t “partners,” but it was something close to it.

At first, I must admit that I thought he was joking.

Then I realized that this attorney, for whom I have great respect, got it.

He got that employers are not looking to violate employment laws, and that the attorneys who represent them are not trying to help their clients violate the laws.

Continue Reading A Very Simple Proposal to Tweak the FLSA to Benefit Both Employees and Employers

Employers with operations both large and small in California are all too familiar with California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), the controversial statute that permits a single employee to stand in the shoes of the state’s attorney general and file suit on behalf of other employees to seek to recover penalties for alleged Labor Code violations.

The in terrorem effect of PAGA lawsuits, in which a plaintiff need not satisfy class certification criteria to represent an entire workforce, has led many employers to pay large settlements just to avoid legal fees and the possibility of larger awards, even when the evidence of unlawful conduct is spotty or entirely absent.

Will 2022 be the year that PAGA is repealed?

Continue Reading Will 2022 Be the Year California Voters Repeal PAGA?