In a provocative decision in the case known as Swales v. KLLM Transport Servs., L.L.C., No. 19-60847 (5th Cir. 2021), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit broke from the pack by upending the standard two-step process for Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or the “Act”) collective certification. The Court opined
Jeffrey H. Ruzal
U.S. DOL Announces Final Rule Revising Its Tipped Employee Regulations
Rules relating to tip credit and pooling have resulted in a significant amount litigation in the hospitality industry, and, in many cases, substantial liability or settlements. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced its new final rule that revises current regulations pertaining to tipped employees. The final rule specifically addresses tipped occupations that qualify…
U.S. Department of Labor Proposes New Rule for Distinguishing Independent Contractors from Employees Under the FLSA
On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released its highly anticipated proposed rule for distinguishing independent contractors from employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
When evaluating independent contractor status under the FLSA, courts have traditionally applied what is known as the “economic realities” test. The test varies slightly from circuit…
Court Invalidates Portion of U.S. DOL’S Business-Friendly Joint Employer Final Rule
On September 8, 2020, a federal district court struck down the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule on joint employer liability, concluding that the Rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) by impermissibly narrowing the definition of joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), departing from the DOL’s prior interpretations on joint…
Webinar Video: Wage & Hour – Working from Home – Class Action Avoidance Series
In this installment of Epstein Becker Green’s “Class Action Avoidance” webinar series, attorney Jeffrey H. Ruzal discusses wage and hour issues that could result from “work from home” policies and practices on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As fall approaches, businesses are deciding whether to fully reopen, maintain a largely remote workplace, or provide…
U.S. Department of Labor Issues Opinion Letters on the Outside Sales, Administrative, and 7(i) Exemptions, as Well as the Status of Third-Party Payments as Wages
While the COVID-19 pandemic remains a challenge to employers nationwide, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) continues to field non-COVID-related wage and hour questions. On June 25, 2020, the WHD issued five new opinion letters addressing the outside sales, administrative, and retail or service establishment exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards…
Epstein Becker Green Introduces Two New Tools to Assist Employers in Preparing for Federal Wage and Hour Investigations
As employers continue to deal with workplace issues related to COVID-19, you should be aware that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) has indicated that it will be investigating allegations of wage and hour violations that have occurred as a result of the rapid workforce changes undertaken by many organizations earlier…
Are COVID-19 Temperature Screenings Compensable Time for Non-Exempt Employees?
As states across the country start to reopen their economies after COVID-19 shutdowns, many businesses are likewise preparing to have employees return to work.
However, before reopening, businesses will need to comply with numerous state and local protocols designed to ensure the health and safety of employees and consumers, including social distancing, maximum occupancy and…
The “Tele-Summer Job” Season – 5 Considerations for Employers
With summer rapidly approaching and COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders still in effect, many companies face an important and difficult decision of canceling this year’s summer programs, delaying start dates or conducting programs virtually. This ultimately will be a business decision with no one-size-fits-all answer.
A good first step is to assess whether the influx of new summer workers will help or hinder current operations. Are temporary summer interns a boost to productivity or a drag on experienced employees who may be called upon to train and mentor them? Will the employer expect to offer employment to these summer recruits following the internship?
In addition, given the seismic nature of COVID-19 that has indiscriminately shaken businesses in most industries, can an employer’s business afford to bring on temporary summer workers and, if so, does the business have the literal and figurative bandwidth to support these workers, especially if they will be teleworking for at least part of the summer?
Below are five compliance and management issues employers should consider for their upcoming summer programs.
Typically employers have a pre-employment screening process in place for summer interns/analysts/associates, which may include, among other things, screening for illegal drugs and controlled substances; investigating and verifying criminal history; and verifying education and prior employment history. Many steps in the screening process take place in person. However, even where new hires may be asked to commence employment remotely, including an incoming summer class, compliance is still possible.
Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has relaxed many of the regulatory requirements for onboarding new hires. On March 20, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that for the next 60 days or for the duration of the National Emergency (whichever is sooner), employers with staff teleworking due to COVID-19 can obtain and inspect new employees’ identity and employment authorization documents remotely rather in the employee’s physical presence, as long as they provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and teleworking policy for each employee.…
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Wondering How to Retain Employees Without Going Bankrupt During the COVID-19 Crisis? Independent Contractor Reclassification Is Not the Answer
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shelter-in-place and related orders, many businesses across America have already shuttered, while others are on the brink of collapse. In these challenging times, businesses are understandably considering any and all potential solutions to keep their employees on payroll while remaining solvent. Some employers have even been considering…