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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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30 Dec 2016 The DOL’s Final Rule on Life Support?

  Earlier this year, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited final rule updating the salary level for workers who are exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule, also commonly known as the overtime rule, was supposed to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016.   As readers of this blog are aware, the update was met with fierce opposition from business groups and employers. In September, a group of 21 states and various business groups…

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22 Nov 2016 December 1 Overtime Rule Blocked Texas Court GRANTS 21-State Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction

  At the eleventh hour, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant of the East District of Texas ruled in favor of 21 states and issued a nationwide injunction against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and its efforts to radically expand the coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, per the order issued in State of Nevada v. United States Department of Labor on Nov. 22:   “… the [DOL’s] Final Rule described at 81 Fed. Reg. 32,391 is hereby enjoined. Specifically, Defendants are…

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21 Nov 2016 Using an Employee’s Social Media Posts to Prove Laziness? Think Again

  Is it permissible for an employer who is subject to an unpaid overtime claim to request an employee’s social media postings over a three-year period? The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida found such requests to be overly broad, unduly burdensome and unreasonable.   A sales representative sued her employer for uncompensated off-the-clock work. During discovery, the employer, Orange Lake Country Club, requested the following information from the employee:   All online profiles, postings, messages (including, without limitation, tweets, replies, retweets,…

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16 Nov 2016 The World According to Trump: Revenge of the Pen – Overturning Obama’s Executive Orders and Employment Policies

  As my teenage daughter would say: “Well, that happened.” As I write this, a little over one week has passed since the end of days, the rain of frogs or whatever apocalyptic description you may choose to describe the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of these United States. Considering that the Chicago Cubs just won the World Series only a short time beforehand, one may be excused from thinking that the end of time is, indeed, at hand.   There can…

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14 Nov 2016 The World According to Trump: A Prologue

  What happens now? How will the election of Donald Trump affect labor and employment policy across this country? What will happen to the DOL, EEOC, NLRB, and OFCCP? If the hallmark of the Obama Administration has been Executive Branch activism, what will happen under the Trump Administration? And, what can we expect from a President Trump whose early post-election decisions appear, at least in some measure, less dramatic than his campaign rhetoric?   This week, the Barnes & Thornburg blog team will consider the…

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22 Jan 2016 Meowing Dogs and Barking Cats: Supreme Court Grants Certiorari to Determine Service Advisors’ Eligibility for Overtime Pay

  The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Navarro v. Encino Motorcars, LLC, after the Ninth Circuit found that the FLSA exemption for overtime pay does not apply to car dealership service advisors. The relevant FLSA exemption applies to “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles.” Service advisors diagnose vehicle service needs and suggest additional services for the maintenance of vehicles. They are paid on a commission basis only, and receive neither an hourly wage nor a salary.   Car…

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04 Jan 2016 Friend or Foe?: Terminated HR Director Can Bring Retaliation Case, Court Says

  Most readers are aware that an employee who complains – internally or externally – about wage/hour law violations, or virtually any violation of an employment law, has the statutory right not to have an adverse job action taken against him/her because he/she made that complaint. We have discussed such claims before in the Currents blog, including here. It is the protected class of “People Who Have Asserted Their Legal Rights,” and asserting retaliation claims has long been a growth area.   But what about an…

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23 Dec 2015 A Tale of Two Crews – Companies Failing to Keep Proper Time Records Risk Having Employees Fill the Void

Employees who claim they are entitled to unpaid overtime wages bear the burden of proving that they performed the work for which they were not properly compensated.  However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) also requires employers to make, keep and preserve records regarding the total hours that their non-exempt employees work during a workweek. When an employer’s records are not sufficient, a court may “relax” the employee’s burden and allow them to demonstrate overtime compensation through other means – notably through their own testimony…

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13 Aug 2015 Employees May Soon Have Something To Lose In FLSA Lawsuits

The deck in Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits has long been stacked against employers. Even if the employer wins at trial, its legal fees and costs will likely be hefty – six figures or more. And if the employer loses, it may have to pay double – or even triple – the plaintiffs’ actual damages and the plaintiffs’ costs and fees, on top of its own costs and fees.  It can feel like employees have nothing to lose and like employers are destined to “lose”…

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06 May 2015 Employers Won’t “Like” Ruling Allowing Class Action Notifications via Social Media

A New York federal court recently approved a proposal that would allow potential class members to be notified of a collective action via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. In Mark v. Gawker Media LLC, a class of former unpaid interns claims Gawker violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York State Labor Law. The plaintiffs are unaware of any mail or email address for 55 of the former Gawker interns who are potential class members, so they proposed reaching out to the potential class…

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