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?

Over the past few years, lower courts in Massachusetts have grappled with determining whether the “ABC test” under the independent-contractor statute provides the proper framework for assessing joint-employment liability. The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has finally answered that question.  On December 13, 2021, in Jinks v. Credico (USA) LLC, the SJC held that the independent-contractor statute’s “ABC test” does not apply and instead adopted the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) “totality of the circumstances” approach to joint employment.

Credico was a client broker for independent direct marketing companies. It contracted with DFW Consultants, Inc. (DFW) to provide sales and marketing services for its clients in Massachusetts. To provide those services, DFW hired three of the plaintiffs – Kyana Jinks, Antwione Taylor, and Lee Tremblay – as salespeople. DFW classified Jinks and Taylor as independent contractors and Tremblay as an employee.

Continue Reading Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rejects “ABC Test” for Determining Joint Employment Under Minimum Fair Wage Law

December is not the shortest month of the year, but it always seems to go by the fastest.

And with holidays and vacations, not to mention employees working remotely, it’s not unusual for matters to be put off until the new year — or for a project or two to fall through the cracks.

Often times, there are no real consequences if a project gets pushed off into the new year.

But that’s not the case with new state or local wage-hour laws.

As reflected in the charts below, minimum wages increased in dozens of states and localities when the new year rang in on January 1, 2022 – and exempt salary thresholds also increased in some states effective January 1, 2022.

Continue Reading Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Did You Remember to Make Necessary Changes to Comply with New 2022 State and Local Wage-Hour Laws?

Before ringing in the New Year, employers should carefully evaluate whether they need to adjust their current practices to ensure that they remain compliant with state and local laws, including those relating to minimum wage and salary thresholds for exempt employees.

As reflected in the charts below, in 2022, minimum wages will increase in more than two dozen states and localities, with many changes taking effect January 1st. Accordingly, employers with minimum wage workers should consult with counsel to ensure that their compensation practices are compliant with the laws in all jurisdictions in which they operate. Employers should pay particular attention to the effective date to ensure compliance by the appropriate date.

Continue Reading Ringing in the New Year with Minimum Wage Increases and Revised Exempt Salary Thresholds

More than three years after its landmark decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, the United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana to determine whether Epic Systems extends to arbitration agreements that include waivers of representative actions brought under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

Employers with operations in California, who have been plagued by the filing of boilerplate PAGA actions, could be heard to breathe a sigh of relief.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Set to Decide Whether <em>Epic Systems</em> Extends to PAGA Representative Claims