Posts tagged Wage and Hour Policies.
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Washington, D.C. is poised to extend the reach of its minimum wage requirements. On January 10, 2024, Washington D.C. Mayor Bowser signed the Minimum Wage Clarification Amendment Act of 2023 (B25-0134) (the “Amendment”), which modifies the circumstances under which an employee must be paid the District of Columbia’s minimum wage.

Traditionally, D.C.’s wage and hour law has required employers to pay employees at least the D.C. minimum wage when they (i) perform more than 50% of their work in the District, or (ii) the employee is based in D.C., and “regularly spends a ...

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More than a decade ago, Epstein Becker Green (EBG) created its complimentary wage-hour app, putting federal, state, and local wage-hour laws at employers’ fingertips.

The app provides important information about overtime, overtime exemptions, minimum wages, meal periods, rest periods, on-call time, and travel time, as well as tips that employers can use to remain compliant with the law and, hopefully, avoid class action, representative action, and collective action lawsuits and government investigations. 

As the laws have changed over the years, so too has EBG’s free ...

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With limited exceptions, California law does not require employers to provide employees with a premium rate of pay for working during holidays or paid days off for holidays unless contractually obligated to do so. However, many employers chose to do so for a variety of reasons. For employers that choose to provide holiday benefits, your “presents” is requested for this read.  

Why offer holiday pay?

Many employers voluntarily elect to offer holiday benefits. Some common reasons for doing so are:

  • Boosting employee morale;
  • Increasing company loyalty;
  • Making an employment offer ...
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On September 13, 2023, the United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to enforce federal laws and regulations that advance equal employment opportunity and fair pay. The MOU outlines procedures for the agencies to increase their coordination in information sharing, joint investigations, trainings, and outreach efforts.

I. Information Sharing

The MOU allows the agencies to consolidate and share information on issues ...

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An amended version of AB 1228 was passed in the California Legislature on September 14, 2023, [1] which would raise minimum wages for fast food workers and water down the authority of the new Fast Food Council that was created in a bill passed last year. AB 1228, originally introduced on February 16, 2023, was revised on September 11, 2023 after negotiations occurred between labor unions and the fast food industry. It significantly modifies provisions from the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act) passed last year, which does not go into effect ...

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An amended version of SB 525 was passed in the California Legislature on September 14, 2023, [1] which would raise minimum wages for health care workers across the state, starting June 1, 2024.  SB 525 is now awaiting signature or veto from California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has until October 14, 2023 to sign or veto this bill.

CHANGES IN MINIMUM WAGES:

SB 525 sets forth different tiers of minimum wage increases that vary based on the following:

  • Large health systems and dialysis clinics:[2]
    • Minimum wage for covered health care employees shall be:
      • From June 1, 2024, to May 31, 2025 ...
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On August 16, 2023, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Third Circuit vacated and remanded a decision from the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruling that the time spent by oil-rig workers changing in and out of their protective gear was not compensable.

Plaintiffs Rodney Tyger, Shawn Wadsworth brought a Fair Labor Standards Act collective action against Defendants Precision Drilling Corp., Precision Drilling Oilfield Services, Inc., and Precision Drilling Company, LP (“Precision”), an oil rig, for failing to pay them for pre-shift donning and post-shift doffing of ...

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Earlier this year, on February 6, 2023, the New Jersey Governor signed the Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights into law.

On August 21, 2023, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) Division of Wage and Hour and Contract Compliance published Proposed Regulations to govern the new law. The Department will be accepting public comments regarding the Law until October 20, 2023. While the Bill of Rights has wide-sweeping consequences for temporary laborers and third-party clients, it is also notable for making New Jersey the first state to require equal ...

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On August 4, 2023, the Governor of Illinois signed HB 2862 into law, amending the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act (DTLS).

Under the amendments, temporary labor service agencies must pay temporary workers who are assigned to a third-party client for more than 90 days wages and benefits (or the cash value of such benefits) equal to the lowest-paid comparable direct-hire employee at the third-party client.

A direct-hire comparator means an individual with equal seniority status to the temporary worker who performs the “same or substantially similar” role under ...

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The “regular rate of pay,” an often-misunderstood legal term of art, can be a thorn in the side of employers when calculating how to pay non-exempt hourly employees. These employees must be paid an overtime rate of at least one and a half times their regular rate of pay. Issues can arise when, in addition to their hourly wages, non-exempt hourly employees receive compensation that can change their regular rate of pay, and thus their overtime rate of pay, on a weekly basis. In some states, such as California, the regular rate of pay is also used when paying meal and rest break premiums ...

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Psychologist Abraham Maslow once observed, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail.”[1] That sums up the state of commission litigation under the Massachusetts Wage Act: mandatory treble damages, attorneys’ fees, and the prospect that a court might strike a term of an agreed-upon commission plan as an unenforceable “special contract” that deprives an employee of earned wages has led to an uptick in the number of commission claims. Given these potential consequences, employees sometimes try to fit a square peg into a ...

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With $3 million in funding from A.B. 102, California’s recent appropriations bill, the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC), the administrative body charged by statute to regulate wages, hours, and working conditions, will reconvene for the first time since 2004, when it was defunded for budgetary reasons.  The IWC was established in 1913 and has gone through several changes throughout the years.  Its most recent, lasting impact on employment in California, however, consists of 17 “wage orders” regulating the wages, hours and working conditions in specific industries. 

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For more than a few years -- at least since the United States Supreme Court’s seminal 2017 decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis -- employers across the country have weighed whether to have their employees sign arbitration agreements with class and collective action waivers. 

While many employers have chosen to do so, many have elected not to. 

Blogs
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For decades, many employers have rounded non-exempt employees’ work time when calculating their compensation.  Maybe they have rounded employee work time to the nearest 10 minutes, maybe to the nearest quarter hour, but they done it. And, generally, the courts have approved of the practice.

But as more and more lawsuits are filed challenging the practice, and as the courts begin to review time-rounding more frequently and more critically, the question employers with time-rounding policies should ask themselves today is this:  Why are we still rounding our employees’ time?

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The California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District recently issued its opinion regarding business-related expenses in Thai v. International Business Machines Corporation. The Court found that expenses incurred by employees in direct consequence of performing their jobs may be reimbursable regardless of whether such expenses are directly caused by the employer.

Paul Thai was employed by defendant and respondent IBM. Thai required, among other things, internet access, telephone service, a telephone headset, a computer and accessories in order to perform the functions of his job. On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued a stay-at-home order that instructed all California residents “[t]o stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors” and any other additional sectors later designated as critical. After the order went into effect, IBM directed Thai and thousands of other workers to continue performing their regular job duties from home. Thai and the other IBM workers personally paid for the services and equipment necessary to do their jobs while working from home, and IBM did not reimburse them for those expenses.

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On July 21, 2023, a unanimous three-judge panel once again affirmed a California federal court’s ruling that the truck drivers who deliver ingredients from Domino’s Southern California Supply Chain Center to Domino’s California franchisees are exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”).

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Employers with operations both large and small in California are all too familiar with California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), the controversial 2004 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.

PAGA lawsuits are filed with great regularity by members of the plaintiffs’ bar.

And 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.

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Handbooks are developed to outline policies and procedures employees must abide by in the workplace.  But a handbook serves a dual, equally important purpose:  to act as an operable defense against workplace claims brought by employees as a way to demonstrate that the employer had equitable and compliant policies in place.

In California, employers are required to disseminate such workplace information to employees another way: through workplace postings.  The Department of Industrial Relations requires workplace postings be displayed in a ‘conspicuous’ place where they are easily visible to the intended audience, such as a bulletin board or mail-room/break-room wall or, in special circumstances, in a binder if there is no room to post such materials.  In California, every business must post not only the Wage Order(s) that apply to its operation and the minimum wage[1] where employees can see them, but also 16 other employment notices.  Failure to post required, up-to-date notices can have serious consequences, including costly penalties[2] and criminal charges. 

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The current statewide minimum wage rate in California is $15.50 for all employers. However, some localities across the Golden State have set their own higher minimum wage rate. For many of these localities, the next increase is set to take effect on July 1, 2023.

For example, in Los Angeles County, the minimum wage increases from $16.04 to $16.78 in the City of Los Angeles and from $15.96 to $16.90 in unincorporated areas.  Here is a list of those local cities and counties raising their minimum wage rates:

Blogs
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As the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency has come to an end, employees are heading back to conferences in droves and resuming their usual training activities. While employers big and small understand they must compensate employees for all time worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) as well as state and local wage and hour laws, whether attendance at such conferences and other training time constitutes hours worked for non-exempt employees remains a murky area for employers.

Four-Factor Test

Generally, training programs, lectures, meetings, and similar activities are compensable hours worked unless all four of the following factors are true:

Blogs
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The lingering morning chill in the air (at least, here, in the Northeast) suggests that summer is not quite here, but as the daylight persists through the evening hours, businesses small and large are gearing up for yet another summer – intern – season.

In anticipation of the arrival of these ambitious and eager workers, companies’ human resources professionals and stakeholders are asking the age-old questions:

Should these interns be classified as “employees” of the company?

Must they be compensated?

Isn’t knowledge and real-world experience the appropriate reward (and maybe some academic credit)?

Is this a wage and hour violation?

The answer to this question is that, it depends, which is a dependably frustrating response from a management-side employment lawyer.

Blogs
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Following the California Supreme Court’s remand of Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., the California Court of Appeal in that same case held that the defendant-employer had not committed “knowing and intentional” violations of the wage statement statute by not including meal period premiums on the wage statements and had not “willfully” paid all wages due at the end of employment by not previously paying meal period premiums that were owed. The Court held that, although the employer did not prevail on its defense that employees in a certified class action were subject to valid on-duty meal period agreements, neither waiting time penalties (capped at 30 days’ of wages at the daily rate of pay for each former employee) nor wage statement penalties (capped at $4,000 per employee) could be imposed against the employer given the good faith dispute that any meal period premiums were owed.

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More than a decade ago, Epstein Becker Green (EBG) created its complimentary wage-hour app, putting federal, state, and local wage-hour 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 that employers can use to remain compliant with the law—and, hopefully, to avoid class action, representative action, and collective action lawsuits and government investigations. 

Blogs
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Generally speaking, the FLSA requires that employers pay employees the required minimum wage and overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek (at a rate of one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay). Accordingly, courts have consistently held that the FLSA provides employees with a basis to sue for the recovery of unpaid wages if an employee is paid below the required minimum wage or an employee is not adequately compensated for overtime hours worked in excess of 40 hours.

But what about claims that do not fit neatly into either of those two buckets? Cue in gap-time claims.

Blogs
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We seem to say this every year -- December always seems to go by far too fast.  And with holidays and vacations, not to mention many employees still 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.

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In reversing a Nevada district court’s grant of summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit, in Cadena v. Customer Connexx LLC, recently held that the time call center employees spent booting up their computers is compensable. Because a functioning computer was necessary for the call center employees to do their job, the court unanimously agreed that the time required to turn on their computer and log in was “integral and indispensable to their principal activities” and, therefore, compensable, subject to certain limitations.

Blogs
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work·week | \ ˈwərk-ˌwēk \

noun

Perhaps one of the most important terms of art under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), an employer’s designated workweek impacts nearly every aspect of an employee’s pay – from minimum wage and overtime to application of most exemptions. Let’s break down this concept.

What is a workweek?

The FLSA regulations define workweek as “a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours - seven consecutive 24-hour periods.” Contrary to popular belief, a workweek need not coincide with a calendar week, nor must it align with an employer’s hours of operation. Instead, it can begin on any day and at any hour of the day. However, the key is that once a workweek is determined, it must remain fixed regardless of the employees’ hours worked with limited exception.

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Employers based outside of California can suffer knockout blows if they enter the ring as employers in California and operate under the mistaken assumption that adherence to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is the same as complying with the California Labor Code and Wage Orders.  Below are the main ways (but certainly not the only ways) employers are “caught cold” because they do not receive or apply California wage-and-hour training and learn the hard way that the plaintiffs’ bar will not pull any punches.

Blogs
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Our colleague Michael S. Kun at Epstein Becker Green was recently quoted in SHRM, in “How to Respond to Class Actions,” by Allen Smith.

Following is an excerpt:

Frequently involving wage and hour issues, class actions against employers can result in lengthy litigation, but early response to them may reduce damages. This article, the first in a two-part series on class actions, examines strategies for responding to such actions, including how to interact with current employees who are seeking information on a lawsuit. The second part explains the differences among class, collective and representative actions. …

Blogs
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Pursuant to two voter initiatives, Michigan has a new minimum wage of $12 per hour, as well as a requirement that employees be provided up to 72 hours of paid sick leave – but those changes will not go into effect until February 19, 2023.

In 2018, two initiatives – the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (2018 PA 368) and the Earned Sick Time Act (2018 PA 369) – were presented to the Michigan legislature. The wage initiative raised the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2022. The paid sick time initiative required most employers to provide up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per year.

Blogs
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Litigators who defend cases brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), particularly ‘collective actions” alleging wage-and-hour violations, often have been able to counter, or even sometimes support, allegations that arbitration agreements have been waived where the conduct of a party has caused prejudice to the other side. In the case of Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., a unanimous Supreme Court has now held that the determinant of waiver is solely dependent upon the nature and magnitude of the actions of the party that might be inconsistent with arbitration, without respect to alleged prejudice.

Blogs
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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.

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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.

Blogs
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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.

Blogs
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1. Introduction

If you have hourly employees that earn bonuses, commissions, or other performance payments, this article is for you.

Properly compensating such employees is often not as simple as paying “time and a half” or “double-time” for qualifying hours.  Rather, federal law, and the laws of many states, require employers to “recalculate” overtime rates to include certain types of non-hourly compensation and pay overtime at those higher rates.  Many employers fail to make such payments, and of those that attempt to pay overtime (and double-time) at rates which ...

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On July 19, 2021, Delaware Governor John Carney signed legislation that will gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. This is a substantial increase from Delaware’s current minimum wage of $9.25 per hour. The minimum wage requirements apply to all employers who employ individuals in the state.

Following the examples set by neighboring Maryland and New Jersey, Delaware’s minimum wage increase will occur in phases. Effective January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour. Thereafter, the minimum wage will increase annually on the ...

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As part of a “third wave” of executive orders, on January 22, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order instructing the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to “provide a report to the President with recommendations to promote a $15/hour minimum wage for Federal employees.”  The Biden Administration announced via a Fact Sheet published on the White House’s website that the move is purportedly designed to ensure that the federal government is a model employer:

[Federal employees] keep us healthy, safe, and informed, and their work transcends partisan ...

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At the time we are posting this, we are just weeks away from the inauguration of President-Elect Joseph Biden. Although perhaps not at the very top of the list of questions about the forthcoming Biden administration, somewhere on the list has to be this question: “What changes will we see in wage-hour law?”

We don’t have the proverbial crystal ball, but there are a number of issues that the Biden administration may focus on at some point during the next four years, be it through legislation, new rules implemented by the Department of Labor (DOL) or even executive orders.  They may ...

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Many employers may be eager to put 2020 in the rearview mirror.  But before ringing in the New Year, employers should carefully evaluate whether they need to make any changes to their current practices to ensure that they remain in compliance with state and local laws, including those relating to minimum wage.

As reflected in the chart below, in 2021, minimum wage will increase in more than two dozen states, with most of the changes set to take effect on January 1.  Minimum wage will also increase at the local level in a number of counties and cities.  Accordingly, employers with minimum wage ...

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Which state’s wage and hour laws apply to Louisiana employers whose employees applied and interviewed for their jobs in Louisiana, acknowledged receipt of employment documents in Louisiana, and resided in Texas, Mississippi, and Ohio while they worked offshore?  The answer, according to the California Court of Appeals, is California if the employees are based in California.

In Gulf Offshore Logistics, LLC et al. v. Superior Court of Ventura County, employees worked on a vessel that provided maintenance services to offshore oil platforms located outside California’s ...

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Faced with the question of whether unionized employees and their employer can bargain away the right to be compensated for employer-mandated travel time, a California Court of Appeal has ruled that they in fact may not do so.  In Carlos Gutierrez v. Brand Energy Services of California, Inc., the Court concluded that Wage Order 16 (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11160) requires that employees be paid for all employer-mandated travel time — and that it cannot be negotiated away by a union and the employer.

The plaintiff in the case was a journeyman scaffold worker at gasoline refineries. He and ...

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From the time of its original enactment in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act has contained an exemption for certain employees of a “retail or service establishment.”  In 1961, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) issued interpretive guidance to aid in determining whether an establishment is or is not “retail or service” for purposes of what was then the section 13(a)(2) overtime and minimum wage exemption.  Part of the test includes whether the business is in an industry in which a “retail concept” exists.  See 29 C.F.R. § 779.316.  WHD created ...

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Let me be the millionth person to say that we are living in unprecedented times.

Well, unless you count the Spanish Flu, which few of us probably dealt with as that was more than a century ago.

And, not incidentally, few if any of the wage-hour laws employers deal with today were in place back then.

As employers navigate issues that they never imagined, there are more than a few myths circulating about wage-hour laws that are worth mentioning here – and worth debunking.

Myth No. 1: “Employees Won’t Sue Over Alleged Wage-Hour Violations Occurring During The COVID-19 Crisis”

The ...

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Our colleagues Jeffrey H. Ruzal, Denise M. Dadika, Maxine H. Neuhauser, and Eduardo J. Quiroga have co-authored an Act Now Advisory that will be of interest to our readers: "Department of Labor Issues OSHA, Wage/Hour, and FMLA Guidance Addressing COVID-19."

Following is an excerpt:

In response to the spreading 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, which has now been declared a national emergency by President Trump, the Department of Labor has released guidance to employers, summarized more fully below:

    • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ...
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As the number of U.S. states reporting cases of COVID-19 coronavirus increases, many employers are imposing mandatory work from home (“WFH”) policies to mitigate risk of contamination and ensure business continuity.  Some employers are requiring employees who have travelled to or received visitors from mainland China (or other areas with high infection rates) and those with fever or other flu-like symptoms to remain at home for 14 days, while others are instructing half or more, up to their entire workforce, to work remotely until further notice.  Whatever the form, employers ...

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As we recently wrote here, Uber and Postmates (and two of their drivers) to file an eleventh-hour lawsuit seeking to enjoin the enforcement of California’s controversial new independent contractor law – known as AB 5 – against them.

In a significant blow to the challenge to the companies’ challenge to the new law, the court has denied Uber and Postmates’ request for a preliminary injunction to block the enforcement of AB 5 against them.

In denying the request for a preliminary injunction, the court concluded that Uber and Postmates were not likely to succeed on the merits of ...

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Most employers are well aware that employees must be paid on a “salary basis” to be considered exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). This means employees must receive the same amount of pay each week regardless of the amount or quality of work they perform for a given week. Accordingly, exempt employees must be paid their full weekly salary for any week in which they perform work, whether or not the employee has actually worked a full work week. See 29 C.F.R. § 541.602(a)(1).

One issue that may fly under the radar, however, is which ...

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On Thursday, January 16, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) published in the Federal Register the much-anticipated Final Rule regarding joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  This rule completes the rulemaking process initiated in early April of last year, when WHD published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), which we discussed here.

The new standards reflected in the Final Rule become effective, barring court action in the interim, on March 16, 2020.  This interval of just 342 days from publication of the NPRM ...

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In its first installment of opinions letters in 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) addressed two issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”): (i) the salary basis requirements in the context of per-project compensation arrangements and (ii) calculation of overtime pay for employees who receive nondiscretionary lump-sum bonus payments earned over time and not tied to a specific period.  (A third letter, FMLA2020-1-A, considered FMLA requirements vis-à-vis public employees.)  While neither of these FLSA opinion letters ...

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Following the challenges to AB 5, California’s controversial new independent contractor law, can be a difficult endeavor.  Every day seems to bring a new development.

We have written before about the hasty passage of the statute, about a ballot initiative to escape the scope of the law by ride-share and delivery companies, and challenges by independent truckers, freelance journalists and photographers, and ride-share and delivery companies.

While many were focused on whether a federal judge, who had already issued a temporary restraining order to enjoin enforcement of the new ...

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With the start of the New Year, new state and local minimum wage increases have gone into effect for non-exempt employees across the country.

The chart below summarizes the new minimum wage rates that went into effect on January 1, 2020, unless otherwise indicated.  (More will take effect July 1, 2020.)

Jurisdiction Current Minimum Wage New Minimum Wage
Alaska $9.89 $10.19
Albuquerque NM (No Benefits) $9.20 $9.35
Albuquerque NM (Benefits) $8.20 $8.35
Arizona $11.00 $12.00
Arkansas $9.25 $10.00
Belmont CA $13.50 $15.00
California (≥ 26 employees) $12.00 $13.00
California ...
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It seems as though there is a minefield that employers must navigate to ensure that they fulfill their wage and hour obligations to their employees. Employers must somehow comply with overlapping and seemingly contradictory federal, state, district, county, and local requirements. The wave of civil actions that are filed against employers alleging wage and hour violations is not slowing. And given the potential financial consequences for non-compliance, illustrated in part by a $102 million award for technical paystub violations, meeting these requirements must be a ...

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As winter once again approaches, employers, particularly those in cold-weather states, face the recurring specter of inclement weather affecting business operations and employee attendance.  While the weather may create stress and disruption for a business and its people, employers must not lose sight of the fact that the rules governing how you pay your employees continue to apply throughout any weather event.

There are five main rules that employers need to keep in mind when bad weather strikes:

1. If a business closes for any amount of time less than a full workweek, it must ...

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On November 26, 2019, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard B. Ulmer ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) might not apply to Uber drivers who are engaged in interstate commerce while driving passengers to or from international airports.

In his claims before the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement (“DLSE”), driver Sangam Patel (“Patel”) seeks recovery of unpaid wages, overtime pay, vacation pay, meal and rest break premiums, and unpaid business expenses allegedly owed by Uber. Uber petitioned to compel arbitration of Patel’s (“Patel” ...

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On November 21, 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (“DLI”) formally withdrew new regulations that would have increased the minimum salary requirements for the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act’s (“PMWA”) white-collar exemptions.  The withdrawal occurred on the same day the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission (“IRRC”) was scheduled to consider the new requirements and rule upon them at a public meeting.

The Withdrawn Rule

The final rule was issued on October 17, 2019, and would have increased the minimum salary threshold for the ...

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After a false start three years ago, the federal Department of Labor (“DOL”) will finally be rolling out an increased minimum salary threshold for employees qualifying under the “white collar” exemptions. The increase in the salary threshold for professional, administrative, and executive exemptions (making up the “white collar” exemptions) under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) will become effective on January 1, 2020.

In order to qualify for one of these exemptions, there are three elements to meet:

  • The employee must be paid on a salary basis ...
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Upsetting what many considered settled precedent, a California Court of Appeal has held that a mandatory service charge may qualify as a “gratuity” under California Labor Code Section 351 that must be distributed to the non-managerial employee(s) who provided the service.

In O’Grady v. Merchant Exchange Productions, Inc., No. A148513, plaintiff, a banquet server and bartender, filed a putative class action against their employer for its failure to distribute the entirety of the proceeds of an automatic 21% fee added to every food and beverage banquet bill to the ...

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As we wrote here recently, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill known as AB5, which is designed to make it more difficult for companies to treat workers as independent contractors.  The new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, codified and expands the “ABC” test adopted by the California Supreme Court in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court for determining whether workers in California should be classified as employees or as independent contractors.

Now some gig economy businesses are striking back.  On October 29, 2019, a coalition of ...

Blogs
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On August 26, 2019, we wrote of the plan by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) to update the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”) regulations on calculating overtime pay for salaried non-exempt workers to allow employers to include additional forms of compensation in the so-called “fluctuating workweek” calculations.  Under a fluctuating workweek calculation, an employer divides all of an employee’s relevant compensation for a given workweek by the total number of hours the employee worked in the week to derive the regular rate for that ...

Blogs
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California law has specific requirements regarding the payment of final wages to terminated employees. The failure to comply with those requirements can require an employer to pay an individual up to 30 days of pay – known as “waiting time” penalties. As “waiting time” claims are often pursued in the context of class actions, where plaintiffs seek up to 30 days of pay for each former employee, it is critical that employers understand when final wages must be paid. And that deadline is different depending up whether the company has terminated the employment or the employee has ...

Blogs
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In the fall of 2016, before the Obama administration increases to the minimum salary were set to go into effect (spoiler alert – they didn’t!), we wrote in this space about the challenges facing employers in addressing those expected changes: “Compliance with the New DOL Overtime Exemption Rule May Create Unexpected Challenges for Employers.

As we wrote earlier this week, the current administration’s changes are set to go into effect on January 1, 2020: “U.S. Department of Labor Issues Long-Awaited Final Rule Updating the Compensation Requirements for the FLSA’s ...

Blogs
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What is considered compensable travel time pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is not always clear or intuitive to employers, even for those who usually have a good handle on wage and hour laws. This blog post hopefully will simplify the requirements set forth in the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) regulations and interpretive guidance to help clarify when employees must be paid for travel time.

Ordinary Home-to-Work Travel

Likely not a surprise for most employers, employees are not entitled to pay for time that they normally spend commuting between their ...

Blogs
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There may soon be a fair number of big rig trucks for sale in California, as well as computers, desks and other material investments of persons who determine that they may no longer offer their services as independent contractors and must shut down their small businesses, a potential repercussion of new legislation intended to restrict the use of independent contractor status in the state.

Whether those and other practical consequences of the hurried passage of the new law were considered by the California legislature is unclear.

But the eleventh-hour exemptions that were extended ...

Blogs
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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) continues to issue guidance at a rapid pace, releasing a new opinion letter regarding the retail or service establishment overtime exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The letter brings clarity to a recurring issue affecting retailers.

FLSA Section 7(i) Exemption

As background, FLSA Section 7(i) exempts a retail or service establishment employee from the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements if (i) the employee’s regular rate of pay exceeds 1.5 times the federal minimum wage for any week ...

Blogs
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At a time when many states and localities are increasing the minimum wage, New Hampshire’s Senate passed a bill that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2022.  The very next day, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the bill. In doing so, Governor Sununu issued a veto message that said the bill would have a “detrimental effect” on the state’s residents and would lead to lost jobs, reduced hours, and less money in the pockets of employees.

Governor Sununu boasted that New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate in the country, along with one of the lowest ...

Blogs
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A Trending News interview from Employment Law This Week: New Proposed Overtime Rule.

Paul DeCamp discusses the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") issued its long-awaited proposed overtime rule on March 7, 2019. This proposed rule would take the place of the Obama-era overtime rule that was blocked by a Texas federal judge in 2017.

Watch the interview below and read our recent post.

Blogs
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Our colleagues Michael S. Kun, Jeffrey H. Ruzal, and Kevin Sullivan at Epstein Becker Green co-wrote a “Wage and Hour Self-Audits Checklist” for the Lexis Practice Advisor.

The checklist identifies the main risk categories for wage and hour self-audits. To avoid potentially significant liability for wage and hour violations, employers should consider wage and hour self-audits to identify and close compliance gaps.

Click here to download the Checklist in PDF format.  Learn more about the Lexis Practice Advisor.

This excerpt from Lexis Practice Advisor®, a comprehensive ...

Blogs
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In Tze-Kit Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority, Massachusetts’ highest court held that Massachusetts law does not require employers to pay departing employees for accrued, unused sick time within the timeframe prescribed for “wages,” as the term is defined by the Massachusetts Wage Act.

In reaching its decision, the Court analyzed the plain meaning of “wages” under the Act and concluded that the legislature did not intend that “wages” would include sick time. The decision removes a significant concern for Massachusetts employers who are strictly liable for ...

Blogs
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As 2017 comes to a close, recent headlines have underscored the importance of compliance and training. In this Take 5, we review major workforce management issues in 2017, and their impact, and offer critical actions that employers should consider to minimize exposure:

  1. Addressing Workplace Sexual Harassment in the Wake of #MeToo
  2. A Busy 2017 Sets the Stage for Further Wage-Hour Developments
  3. Your “Top Ten” Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
  4. 2017: The Year of the Comprehensive Paid Leave Laws
  5. Efforts Continue to Strengthen Equal Pay Laws in 2017
Read the full Take 5 online or download ...
Blogs
Clock 6 minute read

In many industries, sales are subject to ebbs and flows.  Sometimes the fish are biting; sometimes they aren’t.

A common device that employers with commissioned salespeople use to take the edge off of the slow weeks and to ensure compliance with minimum wage and overtime laws is the recoverable draw.  Under such a system, an employee who earns below a certain amount in commissions for a given period of time, often a week, receives an advance of as-yet unearned commissions to bring the employee’s earnings for the period up to a specified level.  Then in the next period, the employees’ ...

Blogs
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Not all new laws go into effect on the first of the year. On July 1, 2017, new minimum wage laws went into effect in several locales in California. Specifically:

  • Emeryville: $15.20/hour for businesses with 56 or more employees; $14/hour for businesses with 55 or fewer employees.
  • City of Los Angeles: $12/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $10.50 an hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Los Angeles County (unincorporated areas only): $12/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $10.50 an hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Malibu: $12/hour for ...
Blogs
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A Maine dairy company has received a potentially expensive grammar lesson from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which held on March 13, 2017, that the company’s delivery drivers may be eligible for up to $10 million in overtime pay, because the lack of a comma in the statute regarding exemptions from the state’s wage and hour law rendered the scope of the exemption ambiguous.

Grammarians have long disputed whether writers should include a comma before the final item in a list—the so-called “serial” or “Oxford” comma.  Opponents of the serial comma consider ...

Blogs
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[caption id="attachment_2743" align="alignright" width="113"] Michael D. Thompson[/caption]

In Gonzalez v. Allied Concrete Industries, Inc., thirteen construction laborers filed suit in the Eastern District of New York.  The plaintiffs claimed they worked in excess of forty hours per week, but were not paid overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.

To obtain information regarding the plaintiffs’ activities during hours they claimed to have been working, the defendants sought an order compelling discovery of their ATM and cell phone ...

Blogs
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[caption id="attachment_2672" align="alignright" width="113"] Evan J. Spelfogel[/caption]

On March 31, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill increasing the statewide minimum wage on a phased in basis over the next five years, to $15.00 per hour in some, but not all New York counties (“Minimum Wage Law”).  This is in addition to a bill enacted on December 31, 2015, that increased the subminimum wage for tipped employees in the hospitality industry from $5 to $7.50 per hour.

The Minimum Wage Law now provides for a tiered increase from the current statewide rate ...

Blogs
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[caption id="attachment_2651" align="alignright" width="113"] Kevin Sullivan[/caption]

On March 31, 2016, the California legislature passed a bill that will gradually increase the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill on April 4, 2016. This increase will impact employers statewide. Not only will it affect the wages of many non-exempt employees, but it will also result in an increase in the minimum salary paid to employees who qualify for most overtime exemptions.

The bill calls for the minimum wage to increase to $10.50 per ...

Blogs
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It is often said that no employer is immune from a wage-hour lawsuit. That no matter how diligent an employer is about complying with wage-hour laws, there is nothing to prevent an employee from alleging that it did not comply in full with the law, leaving it to the attorneys and the court to sort things out. Perhaps the best evidence that no employer is immune from a wage-hour lawsuit came on Thursday, March 17, 2016. That is the date that history will always reflect that a wage-hour lawsuit was filed against Betty White.

Yes, that Betty White. Ninety-four year old Betty White. Sue Ann ...

Blogs
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[caption id="attachment_2607" align="alignright" width="300"] Infographic by DOL Wage and Hour Division.[/caption]

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which is charged with enforcing federal wage laws, has just issued its latest newsletter.

Included in the newsletter is the Division’s presentation of a variety of statistics relating to its efforts.

Among the statistics reported by the Division:

  • It has assisted more than 1.7 million workers since 2009.
  • It has recovered approximately $1.6 billion for workers since 2009.
  • It recovered more than $246 million ...
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

More than a few media sources have reported on the March 10, 2016 wage-hour “victory” by a class of Taco Bell employees on meal period claims in a jury trial in the Eastern District of California.  A closer review of the case and the jury verdict suggests that those employees may not be celebrating after all -- and that Taco Bell may well be the victor in the case.

The trial involved claims that Taco Bell had not complied with California’s meal and rest period laws. The employees sought meal and rest period premiums and associated penalties for a class of employees that reportedly ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

On March 1, 2016, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a law raising the state’s minimum wage. The law is an unusual one, and it will create challenges for many employers with employees in the state, particularly those with operations or employees in multiple counties.

The first increase to the state’s minimum wage will take effect on July 1, 2016, with a new increase scheduled to take effect each July thereafter. The law provides a schedule of annual increases through 2022. Beginning in 2023, the minimum wage will be adjusted annually to account for inflation.

Starting July 1, 2016 ...

Blogs
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Michael Kun, co-editor of this blog, has a post on the Hospitality Labor and Employment Law Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers: "Ninth Circuit Approves DOL Rule Prohibiting 'Tip Pooling' for Kitchen Employees Even Where No 'Tip Credit' Is Taken."

Following is an excerpt:

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) permits employers to use “tip credits” to satisfy minimum wage obligations to tipped employees.  Some employers use those “tip credits” to satisfy the minimum wage obligations; some do not.  (And in some states, like California, they cannot do so ...

Blogs
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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 who ...

Blogs
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My colleagues have a new post on the Retail Labor and Employment Law blog that will help many of our readers at this time of year: "Summer's Coming! How to Handle Unpaid Internships," by Jeffrey M. Landes, Susan Gross Sholinsky, and Nancy L. Gunzenhauser.
Blogs
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In a complimentary webinar on May 22 (1:00 p.m. ET), our colleagues Jeffrey M. Landes and Susan Gross Sholinsky will present a webinar on how to strategically structure internship programs to comply with applicable wage and hour guidelines.

Join us for a discussion on how to minimize both your organization's liability and the risk of wage and hour lawsuits. In particular, below are just a few of the many questions we will address during the webinar:

  • What are the best practices for recruiting and hiring seasonal interns, and what critical language should you include (or avoid) in ...
Blogs
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In Newman v. Advanced Technology Innovation Corp., the First Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that an employer's per diem expense reimbursements should have been included when calculating an employee's regular rate and overtime rate.
Blogs
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By: Kara M. Maciel

The following is a selection from the Firm's October Take 5 Views You Can Use which discusses recent developments in wage hour law.

  1. IRS Will Begin Taxing a Restaurant's Automatic Gratuities as Service Charges

Many restaurants include automatic gratuities on the checks of guests with large parties to ensure that servers get fair tips. This method allows the restaurant to calculate an amount into the total bill, but it takes away a customer's discretion in choosing whether and/or how much to tip the server. As a result of this removal of a customer's voluntary act, the ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

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 ...

Blogs
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We are pleased to announce the release of a new version of our Wage & Hour Guide app that puts federal and state wage-hour laws at employers’ fingertips. To download the app, click here.

The new version features an updated main screen design; added support for iOS 6, iPhone 5, iPad Mini, and fourth generation iPad; improved search capabilities; enhanced attorney profiles; expanded email functionality for sharing guide content with others; and easier access to additional wage and hour information on EBG’s website, including the Wage and Hour Division Investigation Checklist  and ...

Blogs
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By Elizabeth Bradley

This on-going series of blog posts flows from EBG’s publication of its Wage and Hour Division Investigation Checklist for employers. The Checklist, along with this series, is aimed at guiding employers through DOL Wage and Hour Division Investigations.

We have previously blogged our way through How to Prepare for a Wage and Hour Inspection, What to Do When a Wage and Hour Investigation Team Arrives to Start Auditing, and What Records Must be Provided to the DOL. In this post, we discuss what to expect during the “walk around” inspection portion of the ...

Blogs
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By Stuart Gerson

Wage-hour lawsuits filed under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) represent one of the fastest growing and most problematic areas of litigation facing employers today, especially when such cases are brought as collective actions. A recent Supreme Court case based in class action analysis provides a potentially-useful analog for employers to stave off such collective actions.

Class action criteria are set forth in Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, and they allow for one or more individual named plaintiffs to sue on behalf of a large – sometimes very large – group of ...

Blogs
Clock 3 minute read

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 ...

Blogs
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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 ...

Blogs
Clock 3 minute read

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 ...

Blogs
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Epstein Becker Green is pleased to announce the availability of a Wage and Hour Division Investigation Checklist, which provides employers with valuable information about wage and hour investigations and audits conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Like EBG's first-of-its kind Wage and Hour App, which provides detailed information about federal and state laws, the Checklist is a free resource offered by EBG.
Blogs
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By Douglas Weiner and Kara Maciel

“There’s a new sheriff in town.”  With those words in 2009, Secretary Hilda Solis initiated a policy at the Department of Labor that emphasized increased investigations and prosecutions of violators rather than the prior administration’s emphasis on providing compliance assistance.

Her departure – announced yesterday – is unlikely, however, to have much effect on the Department’s current aggressive enforcement policy, as the top enforcement officer of the Department remains Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith.  Solicitor ...

Blogs
Clock 3 minute read

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 ...

Blogs
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By Evan J. Spelfogel

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 ...

Blogs
Clock 4 minute read

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 ...

Blogs
Clock 4 minute read

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 ...

Blogs
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By Frederick Dawkins and Douglas Weiner

Earlier this month, at the ABA Labor and Employment Law Conference, Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith reaffirmed that investigating independent contractors as misclassified remains a top priority of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) enforcement initiatives.  The DOL will continue to work with other federal and state agencies, including the IRS, to share information and jointly investigate claims of worker misclassification.  The joint enforcement effort is certainly driven by, among other things, an interest in ...

Blogs
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Kara M. Maciel, contributor to this blog and Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, has released the "HR Guide for Responding to Natural Disasters."  Following is an excerpt:

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes have posed unique human resource challenges for employers. While many employers are working around the clock on recovery efforts, other employers find themselves unable to function for extended periods of time because of damage or loss of utilities.

The economic effects of a natural disaster will have long-term consequences on businesses ...

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