Category Archives: FLSA

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Calling ICE about Your Plaintiff Could Make You the Defendant

An attorney representing his employer-client calls Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to inquire about the plaintiff’s immigration status. Is that potentially retaliation under the employment laws? If it is, can the attorney be sued personally for it? According to the Ninth Circuit, the answer is yes on both counts, and the Supreme Court may have … Continue Reading

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part: Fifth Circuit Rules on Compensability of Pre-Shift Wait Time

While the Portal-to-Portal Act sounds more like a science fiction movie than a wage statute, it comes into play every day for hourly employees. Enacted in 1947 in response to litigation following the relatively new (at the time) Fair Labor Standards Act, the act attempts to provide rules for when employees must be paid when … Continue Reading

The Poster Post – DOL Updates to Your Employees’ Favorite Area of the Break Room

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has revised mandatory federal posters on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA). By law, employers must display official DOL posters where employees and job applicants can readily see them. Here’s a general overview of the applicable statutes and the specific updates: … Continue Reading

The Case of the Breastfeeding Narc: 11th Circuit Confirms Lactating Employee is Covered Under Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Does an employee’s protection under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) stop when the employee ceases to be pregnant?  The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was confronted with this question in Stephanie Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, in which Ms. Hicks, a police officer who returned from maternity leave and unsuccessfully sought some accommodation related to … Continue Reading

Relishing the Moment: Tenth Circuit Allows Restaurant to Keep Server Tips and Rejects DOL Regulation

In a victory for restaurant employers, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Relish Catering can keep customer tips without violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), so long as the employee is paid at an hourly rate above minimum wage. The court also found that the U.S. Department of Labor overreached in … Continue Reading

Soup, Salvation and Overtime: Sixth Circuit Takes Up Televangelist’s FLSA Appeal

Are you entitled to FLSA coverage if you are doing the Lord’s work? In March 2017, a federal district court in Ohio answered “yes” and awarded almost $400,000 to unpaid employees/volunteers of a church restaurant. The Cathedral Buffet and the Rev. Ernest Angley are now casting a wing and prayer to the Sixth Circuit Court … Continue Reading

WELCOME (?) BACK! DOL Reinstates Wage and Hour Opinion Letters – Should it Matter to You?

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that it will revive its practice of publishing opinion letters to provide guidance to employers and employees on wage and hour issues. This change (after a seven-year hiatus) reopens the door for employers and employees to gain clarity on important issues affecting the workplace. What’s an opinion letter? … Continue Reading

Let’s See You Flex – The Working Families Flexibility Act Passes the House and Proposes a New Option for Overtime

The House of Representatives passed at least two notable measures last week.  You probably heard about the new healthcare legislation, but you may not have heard about the Working Families Flexibility Act (WFFA). Though Republican representatives were not invited to a celebration in the Rose Garden following its passage, employers need to keep an eye … Continue Reading

Blacklisting Executive Order Blacklisted

President Obama and his EO’s Remember the Blacklisting Order that required federal contractors to provide a rap sheet with a proposal? No? Well, President Obama issued 275 Executive Orders during his two terms on various subject matters, some of which were fairly controversial, the Blacklisting Order included. Back in 2014, he issued several high-profile executive … Continue Reading

Consistently Inconsistent? Fifth Circuit Appears to Have Conflicting Approaches to Damages Under the ADEA and FLSA

Can a plaintiff get pain and suffering or punitive damages in a retaliation claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)? In Vaughan v. Anderson Regional Medical Center, the Fifth Circuit, denying both an interlocutory appeal and a petition for rehearing, says “no”. Legal Framework. As we all know, the ADEA explicitly limits a … Continue Reading

When Off-the-Clock Isn’t Off-the-Clock: The Seventh Circuit Considers Employees’ Arguments that Employer Violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by Not Paying Overtime for Off-Duty Use of Work-Issued BlackBerrys

Remember that collective action that the Chicago police officers filed complaining that they weren’t paid overtime for checking their BlackBerrys off duty? Well, the cops lost at trial and now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has it. Recall that 54 officers from the Bureau of Organized Crime Unit filed a collective … Continue Reading

Emotional Rescue: Fifth Circuit Recognizes Mental Distress Damages in FLSA Retaliation Claim

Can a plaintiff get emotional distress damages in a wage and hour claim? In December 2016, the Fifth Circuit issued an opinion of first impression where it found that a plaintiff filing a retaliation claim as part of an overtime wage dispute can seek emotional distress damages. In Pineda v. JTCH Apartment, LLC, Santiago Pineda did … Continue Reading

STOP! Texas Federal Court Issues Nationwide Injunction to Department of Labor’s FLSA Salary Increases

An update on Department of Labor’s (DOL)’s controversial new overtime regulations regarding “white-collar” exemptions. With the U.S. DOL’s regulations increasing the minimum salary for white collar exemptions scheduled to take effect next week (December 1), a federal court in Texas today issued a nationwide injunction stopping (for now) the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) salary … Continue Reading

Two Big Lawsuits Challenge DOL’s New Overtime Regulations, But Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

The Regulations As we all know by now, Department of Labor’s (DOL) new regulations regarding the “white-collar” exemptions to overtime go into effect on December 1. These regulations raise the weekly salary requirement for the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions, as well as the annual salary requirement for the highly compensated employee exemption. The new … Continue Reading

Hit by the Pitch: Federal Judge De-Certifies FLSA Class Action of Minor League Baseball Players

In a 100+ page opinion, federal Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the Northern District of California refused to grant the Plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class of minor league baseball players and instead granted the baseball clubs’ motion to de-certify. As noted in a previous blog post by my colleague, Matt Miller, minor league players … Continue Reading

Putting the Brakes on the DOL: USSC Finds that DOL Not Entitled to Deference on Service Manager Overtime Regulation

Yesterday, in Encino Motorcars v. Navarro, No. 15-415, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a Ninth Circuit ruling that had deferred to a Department of Labor 2011 regulation that auto service advisors were nonexempt and should receive overtime compensation. The justices said the DOL issued the regulations giving “little explanation for its decision to abandon its … Continue Reading

Vive Les Email Liberte! French Law Locks Down Weekend Communications with Employees

In an effort to combat work-related burnout, the French government has a new labor law requiring employers with at least 50 employees to adopt written policies restricting the hours during which employees can send or receive emails, text messages, or any other digital, work-related communication. The goal is to cut the electronic leash that constantly … Continue Reading
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