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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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27 Jun 2018 Will There Be An Epic Backlash?

By now, most have heard about the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 21, 2018 opinion in Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis. Epic actually decided a trio of consolidated cases before the high court and held, as a matter of law, that class action waivers within arbitration agreements are enforceable, that is, arbitration agreements between an employee and employer may prohibit the employee from participating in most claims against the employer other than through one-on-one arbitration.   Workers’ advocates are echoing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s stinging dissent,…

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23 Apr 2018 Philadelphia U. S. District Court Determines Uber Drivers Are Independent Contractors

  On the heels of a San Francisco U.S. Magistrate Judge’s February 2018 ruling in Lawson v. Grubhub Inc. that Grubhub food delivery workers are independent contractors, Judge Michael Baylson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has held that Uber limousine drivers are likewise independent contractors under federal law. This is the first ruling regarding the classification of Uber drivers under federal law and it is surely to have a large impact on the ride-sharing industry.   The Philadelphia case,…

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18 Apr 2018 DOL Issues New Opinion Letters on Wage and Hour Issues – Compensability of Health-Related Rest Breaks

  The DOL recently issued three new Wage and Hour opinion letters on its website giving employers additional guidance on compensation for travel time, pay for health-related rest breaks as well as whether lump sum payments are subject to garnishments. This demonstrates the commitment of the DOL to re-establish the opinion letter program which was eliminated during the Obama administration.  Back in January, the DOL re-issued 17 opinion letters issued by the Bush administration nine years ago but which had been withdrawn during the Obama…

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16 Apr 2018 Know Before You Go: Does the DOL’s New PAID Program Pay Off For Employers?

  Complying with the spider web of statutes, regulations, and DOL opinion letters regarding the FLSA can be a nightmare for employers. Certainly, many of you may recall the furor that resulted just a little over a year ago when the DOL rolled out an update to the salary basis test. Employers across the country scrambled to make sure they could hit the DOL’s new deadlines and requirements, only to have the rug pulled out at the last moment by court order when the regulations…

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16 Jan 2018 What’s Old Is New Again: DOL Resurrects Advisory Opinion Letters

  Employers can expect to benefit from real-life answers to some real-employer wage-and-hour questions now that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reinstituted 17 Advisory Opinion Letters that had been originally issued in 2009, but subsequently withdrawn during the Obama administration.   Such opinion letters provide formal, detailed analysis and answers to employers who pose FLSA compliance questions to the DOL. The opinion letters are published on the DOL website, thus any employer who happens to have the same or a similar compliance issue can…

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10 Jan 2018 The DOL Just Flipped Its Position on Paying Interns

  Late last week, the DOL effectively revamped the standards for unpaid interns, reversing a rule that had been in place since 2010 and giving private, for-profit employers whiplash.   The FLSA does not define “intern.” However, “[a] person whose work serves only his own interest” is not considered to be “an employee of another person who gives him aid and instruction.”  Walling v. Portland Terminal Co., 330 U.S. 148, 152 (1947).   2010 DOL Standard   The DOL upended that long-standing rule in 2010…

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29 Dec 2017 As Predicted, DOL Proposes Changes to Tip Pool Rule

As predicted in an earlier post, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would alter its 2011 rule on tip pooling.  The 2011 rule prevented employers from requiring tipped employees from sharing their tips with traditionally non-tipped workers.  Under the proposed rule, employers who directly pay tipped employees the full minimum wage may require those employees to pool their tips with traditionally non-tipped employees.   The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) generally requires employers to pay employees the minimum…

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12 Dec 2017 Second Circuit Holds that Hearst Interns are not Employees

  Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision upholding an order granting summary judgment in favor of Hearst Corporation, publisher of such magazines as Cosmopolitan, ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR, finding that the plaintiffs were not illegally deprived wages under the FLSA or New York state law as statutory “employees.” This is the second decision in this case at the Second Circuit as this case previously reached the Second Circuit, but was then remanded back to the District Court…

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08 May 2017 House Passes Bill to Legalize Comp Time in the Private Sector

  Employers and employees may soon have more flexibility in how and when overtime gets paid. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act (WFFA), a law that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by allowing employers to offer, and employees to accept, “comp time”­ instead of cash payment for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. “Comp time” is generally defined as paid time off that is earned instead of receiving cash payment for overtime. It is…

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06 Apr 2017 Lesson: Don’t Underestimate Court’s Ability to Change Its Mind Minor Leaguers’ Wage Suit Gets Certified and Comes Back From the Dead

  While Major League Baseball (MLB) can celebrate its new season, which began on April 2, the last pitch has yet to be thrown when it comes to addressing a minimum wage and overtime lawsuit filed by thousands of minor league players.   A lawsuit filed by a class of thousands of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) players in February 2014, which is part of a feeder system into MLB clubs, claims that minor league ballplayers are not paid the proper minimum wage or overtime. The…

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