Tagged: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

United States DOL Proposed Update to FLSA Overtime Rules

United States DOL Proposed Update to FLSA Overtime Rules

On March 7, 2019, The United States Department of Labor (DOL), announced a proposal to update the overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, employers are required to pay employees at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, and overtime pay (at 1 ½ times an employee’s regular rate) for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. To be exempt from these requirements, an employee must be paid on a salary basis, at or above a set minimum weekly salary level, and meet certain specific requirements concerning their job duties. In March 2014, President Obama directed the DOL to update and modernize regulations under the FLSA governing overtime exemptions for “white collar” employees (i.e., executive, administrative and professional employees). After receiving more than 270,000 comments, in May 2016, the DOL issued a final rule, substantially increasing the minimum salary levels for the overtime-exempt classifications, from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year), and incorporating mechanisms to adjust the salary level in the future (“2016 Rule”). Under the 2016 Rule, the salary level needed to satisfy the highly compensated employee (HCE) exemption (which includes a less...

U.S. Supreme Court Issues “Epic” Decision for Employers Upholding Arbitration Agreements and Class Action Waivers

U.S. Supreme Court Issues “Epic” Decision for Employers Upholding Arbitration Agreements and Class Action Waivers

On May 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court resolved the split amongst several Federal Circuit Courts by finding the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) enables employers enforce class action waivers in arbitration agreements with their employees notwithstanding employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to engage in “concerted activity.” The Court’s 5-4 decision, with the majority opinion authored by Justice Gorsuch, was rendered in In Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis and companion cases Ernst & Young LLP et al. v. Stephen Morris et al. and National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil, Inc. (all decided simultaneously). The Court ruled that Congress did not intend the NLRA to provide for class and collective actions, and although the NLRA provides employees the right to organize and bargain collectively, the statute does not dictate how claims must be adjudicated. Accordingly, the Court determined that the NLRA cannot be interpreted to provide employees with an implicit right to class and collective actions in contravention of the FAA, which explicitly confers upon employers and employees the ability to arbitrate and determine their chosen arbitration procedure. Instead, these laws must be interpreted consistently. The three companion cases involve employees challenging arbitration agreements containing class and...

Supreme Court Holds FLSA Overtime Exemptions Not to be Construed Narrowly

Supreme Court Holds FLSA Overtime Exemptions Not to be Construed Narrowly

On April 2, 2018, in Encino Motorcars, LLC, v. Navarro, the Supreme Court held that auto service advisors – those who “interact with customers and sell them services for their vehicles” – are exempt from the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“the FLSA”). The Court’s decision will certainly affect auto service advisors, but its impact will not be limited to the auto dealership industry. The crux of the Court’s decision centered around Section 13(b)(10)(A) of the FLSA, which states that “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles” is exempt from the FLSA overtime requirement. In a 5-4 decision, the majority found that a service advisor is “obviously a salesman” under the ordinary meaning of salesman, given that a salesman sells goods or services and service advisors “sell [customers] services for their vehicles.” The Court also found that service advisors are “primarily engaged in . . . servicing automobiles” due to their integral involvement in the servicing process. Thus, the Court held that sales advisors are exempt from the FLSA overtime pay requirement under Section 13(b)(10)(A). Significantly, in reaching its conclusion, the majority departed from the Supreme Court’s longstanding principle that FLSA...

DOL Adopts Primary Beneficiary Test to Determine Intern Status Under Wage Hour Law

DOL Adopts Primary Beneficiary Test to Determine Intern Status Under Wage Hour Law

On January 5, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) withdrew its six-factor test, established by a 2010 DOL guidance, used to determine whether interns and students are considered employees and, thus, covered by the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), and, in its place, adopted a seven-factor test – listed in Fact Sheet 71 – applied by the Second Circuit in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. The abandoned six-factor test, issued under the Obama Administration, required that all of the criteria be met in order to find that an intern is not an employee under the FLSA. In 2015, the Second Circuit disregarded the DOL test in the Glatt ruling. In deciding against the unpaid interns at Fox Searchlight, the Second Circuit held that the six-factor test was too rigid. Subsequently, the Second Circuit ruled that in determining whether interns are classified as employees under the FLSA, the “economic reality” between the intern and the employer should be evaluated to determine which party is the “primary beneficiary” of the relationship. The Second Circuit applied a non-exhaustive list of seven factors to use in the “primary beneficiary” test, but cautioned that “[a]pplying these considerations requires weighing and balancing all of the...

Third Circuit Affirms that Short Breaks, Treated as Flex Time, are Compensable

Third Circuit Affirms that Short Breaks, Treated as Flex Time, are Compensable

On October 13, 2017, the Third Circuit held in Secretary United States Department of Labor v. American Future Systems, Inc., that under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer was required to compensate employees for all breaks of twenty minutes or less that the employer treated as flex time for the employees. Facts and Analysis Defendant American Future Systems, d/b/a Progressive Business Publications (“Progressive”) employed sales representatives to sell its business publications. The sales representatives were paid on an hourly basis, but only when logged onto their computers. In 2009, Progressive eliminated its policy that permitted employees to take two 15 minute paid breaks per day and replaced it with a “flexible time” policy. The flexible time policy allowed sales representatives to “log-off the computer system at any time of the day, for any reason, and for any length of time, at which point, if they so choose, they may leave the office.” Employees were required to log off their computers if they were “not on an active sales call, recording the results of a call, engaged in training or administrative activities, or engaged in other activities that Progressive considers to be work-related.” If sales representatives were logged out...

Courts Send Signal That Care in Drafting Arbitration Provisions is Key

Courts Send Signal That Care in Drafting Arbitration Provisions is Key

Two recent decisions, one by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the other by the New Jersey Appellate Division, offer some interesting insight into the validity and viability of arbitration clauses that send employment-related disputes and claims out of the court system and into arbitration. In Moon v. Breathless, the Third Circuit Court held that an arbitration provision in an exotic dancer’s independent contractor agreement did not encompass her statutory FLSA and state wage-and-hour claims. Appellant Alissa Moon (“Moon”), a dancer at Breathless Men’s Club (“the Club”), filed a putative collective and class action against the Club in the District of New Jersey alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the New Jersey Wage Payment Law and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law. The Club moved to dismiss based upon an arbitration provision contained in the Independent Dancer Rental Agreement (the “Agreement”) that Moon signed. The Agreement also contained a provision stating Moon was an independent contractor and not an employee. The District Court denied the Club’s motion to dismiss and directed the parties to engage in limited discovery on whether Moon’s claims were subject to a valid arbitration provision. Following discovery, the District Court found that...

New York Employers Mid-Year Review

New York Employers Mid-Year Review

In 2017, employers in New York encountered several important statutory changes affecting recruitment of applicants and retention of independent contractors. More legal change will come in 2018, warranting a mid-year review of current employment and hiring practices, as well as preparation for next year’s developments. Employers should take the time now to audit current practices and prepare for the imminent future. Pay Equity On May 4, 2017, Local Law 67 was enacted to prohibit all employers in New York City from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history (including current or prior wages, benefits, and other compensation), and from relying on an applicant’s salary history when determining his or her compensation package during the hiring process, including contract negotiations. The law applies to both public and private employers and employment agencies, and to their employees and agents (collectively, “employers”). Employers may, however, engage in communications with an applicant about his or her expectations as to salary, benefits, and compensation, including any deferred compensation or unvested equity which the applicant may forfeit as a result of leaving his or her current employer. In addition, if the candidate voluntarily (and without any prompting by the prospective employer), discloses his or her salary history to...

Federal DOL Rescinds Joint Employer and Independent Contractor Guidance

Federal DOL Rescinds Joint Employer and Independent Contractor Guidance

On June 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”), announced that it was rescinding two significant and heavily-criticized Obama-era Administrator’s Interpretations, the first on joint employer liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1801 et seq. (“FLSA”) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. (“MSPA”) (the “Joint Employer AI”), and the second on independent contractor misclassification under the FLSA (the “Independent Contractor AI”). In its June 7th statement concerning the rescissions, the DOL made its intentions clear: Removal of the two administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act or Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the Department’s long-standing regulations and case law. The Department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. Although neither AI constituted a legal precedent, the January 2016 Joint Employer AI presented the DOL’s analysis of the joint employer principles under caselaw interpreting the FLSA and the MSPA. Gibbons issued an alert about the Joint Employer AI...

NYS Department of Labor Proposed Overtime Rule 0

NYS Department of Labor Proposed Overtime Rule

With the final overtime rule for the “white collar” exempt employee minimum salary level issued by the United States Department of Labor (the “DOL”) on hold, the New York State Department of Labor’s proposed overtime rules may take precedence for New York employers. As we previously communicated, the DOL’s new overtime rule – which substantially increases the minimum salary that employers must pay to certain classes of employees to avoid the overtime pay requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“the FLSA”) – was scheduled to take effect December 1, 2016, but was placed on hold by a preliminary injunction issued by a Texas federal district court. New York State has now taken matters into its own hands independent of the now-suspended federal rule change.

Federal Court Preliminarily Enjoins DOL From Enforcing Overtime Exemption Rules 0

Federal Court Preliminarily Enjoins DOL From Enforcing Overtime Exemption Rules

On November 22, 2016, in Nevada v. United States Department of Labor, et al., a judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) from implementing and enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act (“the FLSA”) final overtime rule that would otherwise become effective on December 1, 2016.