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DOL Issues New Opinion Letters Revolving Around the FLSA’s “Regular Rate”

Continuing the practice it reinstituted about two years ago, on March 26, 2020 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage Hour Division (WHD) issued three new opinion letters, each revolving around the “regular rate” that is used when calculating any overtime pay due to non-exempt employees for work performed in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. A brief summary of those Opinion Letters is as follows:

Limousine Service Employee Was Properly Classified as Exempt, Second Circuit Holds

Upholding a jury verdict in favor of the defendant “black car” (limousine service) company, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit concluded that the plaintiff-employee was properly classified as overtime-exempt under both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law (NYLL). Suarez v. Big Apple Car, Inc., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8683 (2d Cir. Mar. 17, 2020). The Second Circuit has jurisdiction over the federal courts in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.

FLSA Collective Action Trimmed Because Court Lacked Specific Jurisdiction

A Minnesota federal district court recently denied FLSA conditional certification over the claims of workers who were not assigned to a Minnesota project at issue or not Minnesota residents due to specific jurisdiction considerations. Vallone et al. v. The CJS Solutions Group, LLC, No. 19-1532 (D. Minn. Feb. 5, 2020).

Thinking It Through: Wage and Hour Implications of Employer Responses to the Coronavirus

The spread of the novel coronavirus and associated outbreak of the COVID-19 disease raise challenging questions for employers. This article will describe some of the U.S. wage and hour implications resulting from employers’ measures addressing the COVID-19 outbreak, including compensation for employees who are quarantined or furloughed, business expense reimbursement, reporting time pay, and predictive scheduling laws. Littler’s additional COVID-19 resources can be found here.

WPI Wage Watch: Minimum Wage, Tip, and Overtime Developments (February Edition)

Hey, do you want to read an article not about COVID-19? Well, you are in luck, because in this virus-free issue of Wage Watch, we discuss only developments concerning the minimum wage, tips, and overtime that occurred in the last few weeks, while you may have been distracted.

2019 Wage & Hour Developments: A Year in Review

Federal and state laws regulating the payment of wages continue to develop at a rapid pace. States continue to increase their minimum wage, despite the federal minimum wage remaining stagnant at $7.25 per hour since 2009.

DC Issues Interim Guidance to Help Employers Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease

This month, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) published Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization) to help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. While much is unknown about COVID-19 and how the disease spreads, COVID-19 is spreading person-to-person in China and some limited person-to-person transmission has been reported in other countries, including the U.S.

Second Circuit Rejects Proportionality Standard in FLSA Settlement Agreements When Determining Attorneys’ Fees

In a 29-page decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in Fisher v. SD Protection Inc., No. 18-2504, that a district court had abused its discretion by rewriting a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) settlement agreement to modify the allotment of the settlement funds to dramatically reduce the fees and costs provided to plaintiff’s counsel. In its holding, issued on February 4, 2020, the court determined that the district court had committed three errors requiring that its decision be vacated and remanded for further consideration.

FLSA Collective Action Limited by Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

In a significant victory for employers and the principles of due process, the District of Minnesota recently joined several other federal courts around the country in holding that only workers with a connection to the forum state may join a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The Seventh Circuit Rules on Whether to Send Notice in FLSA Collective Actions to Individuals with Arbitration Agreements

On January 24, 2020, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals became the second federal appellate court to address whether notice of a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may be sent to individuals who allegedly entered into mutual arbitration agreements waiving their right to join the action. Following last year’s Fifth Circuit decision in In re JPMorgan Chase & Co., No. 18-20825 (5th Cir.), the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Bigger v. Facebook, Inc., No. 19-1944 (7th Cir.) highlights the growing trend of courts placing some limitations on the issuance of notice to individuals who have executed enforceable arbitration agreements with class or collective action waivers. This issue remains unsettled outside of courts in the Fifth or Seventh Circuits, however.
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