- A New Year Brings New Wage and Hour Laws
- More than Just Back-Pay for Unfair Labor Practices – the NLRB Adopts New Make-Whole Relief Model
- When Pennies Become Thousands of Dollars: Are Courts Eroding the De Minimis Rule?
- The Pendulum Swings Again: DOL Proposes “New” Independent Contractor Rule
- California Poised to Join States with Robust Pay Transparency Laws
- Compliance Steps For Cos. After Mich. LGBTQ Bias Ruling
- Department of Labor Proposes New Rule on Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers under Service Contracts
- States Push for Pay Equity and Transparency Laws
- Restaurant and Hospitality Employers Beware: The Fight Over the 80/20 Rule Continues
- How a Bonus Might Cause Unexpected Liability for an Employer
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On October 13, 2022, the United States Department of Labor (the “DOL”) published a new proposed rule to clarify who is an independent contractor under federal wage and hour law (the “Proposed Rule”). The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects workers against unfair employment practices by requiring employers to provide certain benefits and protections to employees. Independent contractors are not employees under the FLSA. As such, employers that misclassify workers as independent contractors may wrongfully deny workers of benefits and protections under the FLSA and other laws.
Recently, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department Labor (“DOL”) proposed regulations designed to implement President Biden’s Executive Order 14055, concerning the nondisplacement of qualified workers under federal service contracts (the “Order”). The Order requires federal contractors and subcontractors to offer qualified service employees working on a contract the right of first refusal of employment under a successor contract when a service contract expires and a follow-on contract is awarded for the same or similar services. The Order is intended to reduce disruption and offer a seamless transition for experienced employees already familiar with the Federal Government’s personnel and requirements.
On May 9, 2022, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments regarding the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Dual Jobs Final Rule (the “New Rule”), which regulates when employers may take a tip credit against their employees’ wages under federal law. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees who “regularly and customarily” receive tips need not be paid the full minimum wage in the form of hourly wage payments. Instead, employers may take a “tip credit” against their minimum wage obligations, and pay tipped employees an hourly rate as low as $2.13 per hour (under federal law). Whether the tip credit applies depends on the amount of time employees spend performing “tipped work” versus “non-tipped work.” The 80/20 rule is a historic DOL guideline to assist employers in making such determinations; however, it has been hotly debated over recent years.
Think that tips have to stay with front-of-house staff?
Well, it may be time to think again.
On December 22, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule allowing employers who do not take a tip credit against their minimum wage obligations to implement mandatory tip pools in which employees who traditionally have not been able to participate in tip pools—such as cooks and dishwashers—may now receive a portion of the tips left by guests. However, employers, managers, and supervisors still cannot participate in the tip pool, regardless of whether the employer takes a tip credit.
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced a final rule regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime exemption for certain employees in retail and service industries who are paid primarily on commissions. Issued without the typical notice-and-comment rulemaking, the final rule withdraws two provisions from the regulations about the “retail concept.” These provisions listed industries that the DOL viewed as either having “no retail concept” or “may be recognized as retail,” impacting whether certain industries asserted whether they had a retail concept and had workers that were subject to the exemption. By eliminating the lists, certain industries and businesses have more flexibility in determining whether they qualify as an establishment with a retail concept.
On January 13, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the final rule that will be used to determine joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule is expected to become effective on March 16, 2020.
The Department of Labor (DOL) surprised many observers by announcing it would issue a new proposed rule on calculating the “regular rate of pay” for determining overtime wages in its recently issued 2018 regulatory agenda. The DOL has only stated that it intends to “clarify, update, and define regular rate requirements” for the Fair Labor Standards Act, and that the proposed rule will be issued in September 2018.
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued its first set of opinion letters since 2010, when the Obama administration suspended the practice of issuing such guidance. The return of opinion letters is welcome news for employers. Among other things, obtaining the DOL’s informal opinion on a wage and hour compliance question may help avoid costly disputes and, in certain circumstances, provide affirmative defenses to liability in the event of litigation.
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling concluding that service advisors at car dealerships are exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In doing so, the Court abandoned 70 years of precedent, construing FLSA exemptions fairly rather than under the historic narrow standard. This change may signal a more level playing field for employers when courts interpret FLSA exemptions.
On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced proposed changes that could have a large impact on many businesses that employ tipped workers. Citing changes in state laws and significant litigation involving tip pooling, the DOL is considering rescinding certain restrictions on tip pooling for employers who do not claim a tip credit against the federal minimum wage. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding these potential changes was published on December 5, 2017 for public comment.
On November 6, 2017, a federal appellate court granted the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) motion to halt the litigation surrounding its 2016 overtime rule. The 2016 rule would have more than doubled the salary thresholds for exempt employees under the administrative, executive, and professional exemptions.
On September 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped its appeal in support of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) intended increases to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) salary-basis test for the white-collar overtime exemptions. The appeal stemmed from a preliminary injunction issued by a federal district court in Texas, which halted the nationwide implementation of the DOL’s 2016 amendments to the FLSA. The DOJ’s request to dismiss the appeal comes just days after the same federal judge permanently struck down those amendments.
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a request for information (RFI) relating to the 2016 amendments to the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FLSA) overtime regulations. The DOL seeks information “to aid in formulating” revisions to the amended regulations that remain subject to a nationwide injunction. Once again, companies face uncertainty regarding impending changes to the FLSA’s regulations.
Today, in a return to pre-Obama era standards, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the withdrawal of two informal guidance letters impacting the “joint employer” doctrine.
A hot topic in 2016 was the implementation of new regulations more than doubling the minimum required salary amount for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In late November 2016, a federal court in Texas enjoined the rules from taking effect, and in December, President Obama’s administration appealed that ruling.
As most employers know by now, on November 22, 2016, a federal court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction that, at least temporarily, halted the implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) white-collar exemptions. The amendments were to have gone into effect on December 1, 2016, and would have more than doubled the salary requirements for exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees. Much to the business community’s chagrin, this saga continues.
A franchisor may find itself between a rock and a hard place when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) comes calling; particularly when the call concerns franchisee compliance under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). On the one hand, a franchisor can refuse to cooperate. Though such refusal risks an aggressive response by the DOL, including costly litigation and increased damages claims. On the other hand, a franchisor can agree to cooperate. However, such cooperation is not without its own risks. Among other things, such cooperation may spur on “joint employer” claims under the FLSA (and other laws) against the franchisor.
On June 20, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navorro, which concerned the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) classification of service advisors working at automobile dealerships. While the High Court did not actually decide the classification issue, it sent a strong message to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that it “has some explaining to do” before it reverses its position and changes its interpretation regarding FLSA exemptions.
On June 14, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL), through its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), announced a Final Rule implementing sweeping changes to the OFCCP’s sex discrimination regulations. The regulations, which apply to federal contractors and subcontractors, were initially promulgated to implement the anti-discrimination provisions of Executive Order 11246, and were last updated decades ago. In April 2014, however, President Obama signed Executive Order 13672, which amended the previous Executive Order and added protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Final Rule, which implements this amendment and otherwise significantly modifies the OFCCP’s existing anti-discrimination rules as discussed below, takes effect August 15, 2016.
They’re here! The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is set to unveil the new overtime regulations concerning the exempt status of executive, administrative and professional employees (the Final Rules) today at 2:00 pm (EST) at an event in Columbus, Ohio, which will feature Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. In advance of the formal release, the DOL has published a Fact Sheet that outlines the key provisions of the Final Rules.
The grapevine is abuzz! The word on the street is that the Department of Labor (DOL) could release the final amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) white-collar exemptions as soon as this week.
The final amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) white-collar exemptions soon will be upon us. Employers should begin preparing now for substantial changes to the federal minimum-wage and overtime exemptions that currently apply to bona fide executives, managers, supervisors, administrative employees, and professionals. At the opening session of the American Bar Association’s mid-winter meeting for the Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee (FLSL Committee), Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith confirmed again that the Department of Labor (DOL) anticipates publishing the final amendments to the white-collar regulations by late spring or summer of 2016. The DOL also is committed to making the amendments effective before the end of the year.
On January 20, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL) articulated a new standard that it will use to identify joint employment relationships. Specifically, the DOL published Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2016-1 (AI 2016-1), which is the first Administrator’s Interpretation this year, following the DOL’s similar pronouncement regarding independent contractor classifications in July 2015.
The dust has settled and now it is official: Businesses that provide home care services can no longer rely on industry-specific exemptions to federal overtime and minimum wage requirements, and the final rule that says so now has the force and effect of law.
Employers and other sponsors of apprenticeship programs take notice. Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) intended to expand and update regulations concerning the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937. Among other things, these proposed regulations would add age (40 or older), genetic information, sexual orientation, and disability to the list of classifications protected under the statute and strengthen related affirmative action requirements.
The status of live-in home care workers and companionship employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has become a moving target in recent years, and the most recent move spells big changes for the home care industry.
Are you paying the intern you just sent out to grab your morning cup of coffee? If not, you may have a wage and hour violation on your hands. Private employers have increasingly come under attack over their use of unpaid interns by the Department of Labor and private litigants. This is especially the case where an unpaid intern performs tasks more akin to an administrative assistant than an on-the-job student/trainee.
Sometimes the hunter becomes the hunted. That’s a lesson the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently learned. In an opinion dated July 2, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reprimanded the DOL for pursuing “poorly documented” and “legally dubious” claims. The Fifth Circuit found that the DOL had engaged in “uncivil and costly litigation tactics,” attempting to prevail by oppressively pursuing a very weak case. Ultimately, the court held that the DOL had “acted in bad faith” and ordered the district court to enter an award against the DOL for hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees.
On July 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) articulated a standard that will be used to call into question independent contractor classifications. Specifically, the DOL published Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1 (AI 2015-1), which is the first Administrator’s Interpretation in more than a year.
Further information has been made available to the public concerning the proposed changes to the FLSA’s “white-collar” exemptions in the 295 pages of materials released by the Department of Labor yesterday.
The White House announced that the long-awaited proposed amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations concerning the so-called “white collar” exemptions will include a substantial increase to the salary required to maintain exempt status for most executive, administrative, and professional employees.
The use of independent contractors has come under attack in recent years. Several states have passed laws increasing the penalties for misclassifying independent contractors. Further, the U.S. Department of Labor aggressively investigates independent-contractor classifications. Courts also have limited the use of independent contractors by expanding the definition of “employee.”
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to cover employees seeking leave for a same-sex spouse.
Yesterday, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to draft new regulations that will require the payment of overtime wages to many white collar employees who presently do not receive overtime pay.
Employers should be vigilant, now more than ever, concerning the steps they take to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws.
In connection with statutory amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and new regulations issued by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, employers will be required to display an updated poster describing employees’ rights under the FMLA by March 8, 2013.