Category Archives: Wage and Hour

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Happy Thanksgiving and the Many Things for Which We Are Thankful

Before everyone gets out of the office to their various homes and families to celebrate the holiday, we wanted to review the year and count our blessings. Not only are we thankful that our families and colleagues in our Houston and Tampa offices weathered the storms safely, we are also thankful for the following legal … 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

Ahead of Schedule? What Oregon’s Fair Work Week Bill Means to the Retail, Hospitality, and Food Service Industries

In case you didn’t know, Oregon enacted the “Fair Work Week” law, making it the first state to legally restrict the scheduling practices of employers in the service sector. The highlights include: an obligatory rest period for employees between shifts, written work schedules in advance of shifts, and additional pay for employees if employers want … Continue Reading

Whatever Happened to Those New Overtime Regulations? DOL May Be Sending a Signal with Its Notice of Appeal

Remember last year when everyone was getting ready for the big change to the salary threshold for the overtime exemption that was set to go into effect on December 1? And then, seemingly out of nowhere, a judge put a stop to all of those worries? Ever wonder what happened to those pesky regulations? Although … Continue Reading

Putting a Finger on a Problem? Employees Challenge Biometric Scanners as Violating Privacy

Employers, if you have ever wondered how much security is too much, there may be an answer coming sooner than you think. In a recently filed complaint, Martin Ragsdale, an employee of the Paramount of Oak Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, alleged that the company’s use of biometric data violated his and his coworkers’ individual … 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

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

After the Flood: How to Deal with Employment Issues

We all continue to send our support to the people affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Unfortunately, even as the waters eventually recede, Texas employers will now be dealing with leave and wage issues in addition to the cleanup.  Here is a past blog post that addresses some of those concerns: Blizzards, Hurricanes, and That Dreaded TORCON Index.… 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

The (Exempt) Boys of Summer: 9th Circuit Upholds Minor League Baseball Antitrust Exemption in Wage Suit

Does Major League Baseball’s (MLB) farm league system violate federal antitrust laws? Not according to the 9th Circuit. As written about in this previous post from July 2016 and one from July 2015, numerous minor league baseball players filed suits against numerous major league teams claiming that the salary structure for MLB’s farm system violated the … 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

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

C’est La Vie: No ‘Right to Disconnect’ in U.S., But Non-Exempt Workers Must Be Paid for ‘Connected’ Time

Could a “right to disconnect” become law in the U.S.? France is trying it. Effective January 1, a new French law went into effect giving workers a “right to disconnect” when not at work. French employers with 50 or more employees have to adopt written policies restricting the hours that workers can send or receive … 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

Attention HR: The Antitrust Laws Apply To You Too!

Human resources professionals keep track of a number of laws and regulations administered by several different agencies. For the most part, HR departments have given little attention to federal antitrust law compliance. After all, isn’t antitrust law about anticompetitive mergers, monopolies, and price-fixing cartels? Not so fast.  In late October 2016, the two agencies tasked … 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

West Coast—Time to Check Your Employment Agreements: Ninth Circuit Negates No-Class Action Clause in Arbitration Agreements

This week, the Ninth Circuit held that Ernst & Young’s (E&Y) arbitration agreement that prohibited its employees from filing class actions violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). E&Y required as a condition of employment that its employees sign an agreement stating that they could not bring any class action or concerted claim regarding wages, … Continue Reading

Isn’t it Ironic, Don’t You Think? DOL Settles Overtime Claims With Its Own Employees

Last week, attorneys for the Department of Labor (DOL) employee union announced that the government agency had agreed to pay $7 million to settle an almost 10-year-old grievance by DOL workers who claimed they were not paid for off-the-clock work. The claim covered alleged compensable time from 2003 to 2013. Part of the claims were … 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

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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