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Feed Me! Thanksgiving Turkeys, Free Lunches, and Wage and Hour Law

With the Thanksgiving holiday ahead of us, we have reached the time of year where some employers start handing out Thanksgiving turkeys, holiday hams, and other gifts to employees, while others provide free or discounted lunches or other meals. You will find plenty of articles extolling the productivity virtues of well-fed employees. Employers in various industries—from hospitality to high technology to manufacturing—often have many good business reasons to provide meals, from cutting back on waste to teambuilding.

No FLSA Overtime Recovery For What Employer "Should Have" Paid

Overtime compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act must be based upon an employee's "regular rate" of pay. More and more frequently nowadays, claimants allege that their FLSA overtime compensation should have been (or should be) based upon some rate that would generate more compensation than they really received.

Wage and Hour Cases to Watch at the Supreme Court: Part 2--Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association

As we discussed recently, this month marked the opening of the Supreme Court’s new term. For employment law practitioners, this session will be particularly busy with seven cases analyzing a range of employment questions, from the scope of the EEOC’s duty to conciliate discrimination claims to the applicability of whistleblower protection laws and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. In Part 1 of this series, we discussed Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk.

9th Circuit Joins Other Circuits Requiring Facts in FLSA Complaints

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has joined the First, Second, and Third Circuits in requiring employees asserting claims for unpaid overtime or minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act to allege facts showing at least one week when they worked in excess of 40 hours and were not paid overtime or minimum wage.

Home Companionship Industry Will Feel FLSA Exemption Fix

Although announced in the latter part of 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor rule changes affecting the companionship exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act are finally set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. The changes will significantly impact the home companionship industry, which currently employs about 2 million people. With the rule change imminent, home companion companies only have a few weeks remaining to ensure compliance.

Video Interview: Discussing the Election's Impact on Wage & Hour Laws with LXBN TV

Following up on my post on the subject, I had the opportunity to discuss the impact of the 2014 Election on wage and hour laws around the country.

The Future of the Minimum Wage – 2015 and Beyond

2014 has been “The Year of the Minimum Wage.” Protests throughout the country, with workers calling for increased wages, drew significant media attention. President Obama and Democrats in both legislative chambers advocated for increasing the minimum wage under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – which was last raised in July 2009 – from $7.25 to $10.10 in increments over time. Due to the gridlock in Washington, legislative efforts failed, though the president exercised his executive authority to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors. In the absence of federal action, state legislators acted. Roughly 20 percent of state-level jurisdictions passed minimum wage laws in 2014. Unlike prior legislative actions, which resulted in a single increase, each minimum wage bill enacted in 2014 called for multiple increases, with some also requiring subsequent annual increases. Moreover, a handful of states put the question of whether to increase the state minimum wage before voters in the November 4, 2014 general election.

If I was Secretary of Labor: Fixing the FLSA with a Safe Harbor

Last week, I answered some of the questions that we have been receiving about the new FLSA regulations, but I saved one that I hear almost everywhere I go: what should the Department of Labor do with the FLSA? Last week, I said “start over.” Of course, that’s not going to happen. Scrapping the FLSA and starting over is not an option right now, realistically or politically. If I was Secretary of Labor, what would I do? Develop a safe harbor for employers.

On-Premises Fringe Benefits, Part I: Is There Such a Thing as a Free Lunch?

It is no secret that many Silicon Valley employers serve free gourmet meals to their employees—the Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit magazine, Time, Forbes, and other media sources have reported on this benefit. In addition, the number and variety of cafés and foods provided by these employers, the healthfulness of the meals served, the positive culinary reviews, famous executive chefs involved, cleanliness of the facilities, and the favorable benefit cost-estimates have been the subject of news stories for years.

Voter Actions Undercut Federal Push for $10.10 Minimum Wage

John Thompson’s article “Voter Actions Undercut Federal Push for $10.10 Minimum Wage” was featured on TLNT on November 11, 2014.