Recently in Wage and Hour Category

December 10, 2014

The hella-best post you'll read today on yesterday's Supreme Court employee-pay opinion

When you're part of the bloggerati, just one half-step below the illuminati, well, let's just say membership has its privileges. AMEX taupe card, rinkside seats to the local roller derby, earlybird specials, the world is your oyster.

And, at work, the staff sees me coming and runs the other way throngs to my office. Indeed, it's gotten so bad, that we had to install security machines to control ingress and egress. While my firm can't wait for me to jump ship loves the attention that my blog brings -- remember you can vote for my blog in the ABA Blawg 100 -- the folks who sign my mega-paycheck expressed concern that it would also have to compensate our non-exempt employees for the spent clearing security.

Thankfully, yesterday, the Supreme Court, in this opinion, unanimously ruled that the time these folks spend clearing security is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act. That's because the time our staff spends waiting in line to clear security is neither indispensable nor integral to their principal activities in the office. They get paid to do legal work; not wait in line. And, absent the security, these folks could still do their jobs. And, even though my firm requires our awesome staff to clear security because of my blogging greatness and related fame and notoriety, the Portal-to-Portal Act exempts employers from FLSA liability for this this preliminary and postliminary time.

Although in reality, our firm had no direct stake in yesterday's SCOTUS ruling, and I made up everything in this post, except for the SCOTUS opinion, hopefully, you've learned a thing or two about the FLSA and compensable time.

August 18, 2014

NLRB may encourage your employees to file OSHA, FLSA claims too

nlrb.jpgLast week, the National Labor Relations Board issued this memorandum in which it has instructed regional offices to encourage employees to file complaints with the United States Department of Labor if the the regional NLRB office "believes that an employer may have violated a substantive or anti-retaliation provision of [OSHA] or the FLSA."

Remember that the National Labor Relations Act covers more than just unionized employers and workplace. For example, many of the social media cases involving the NLRB that you may have read about actually involve non-union workplaces. So, if you haven't gotten the message already, this NLRB initiative is another wake-up call to get your house in order.

Otherwise, you may have multiple federal agencies up in your business.

Continue reading "NLRB may encourage your employees to file OSHA, FLSA claims too" »

May 1, 2014

GUEST POST: 4 Overtime Myths Debunked

guestblogger.jpgToday we have a guest blogger at The Employer Handbook. It's Kimberly Erskine.

Ordinarily, when I'm offered a wage-and-hour guest blog post, I just yawn -- much like you do with the FLSA posts I do myself. But, this one, written from employee's perspective, is a worthwhile read for both employees and employers alike.

(Want to guest blog on an employment-law topic at The Employer Handbook? Email me).

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Continue reading "GUEST POST: 4 Overtime Myths Debunked" »

April 17, 2014

Employment Law Blog Carnival - Pick Your Holiday Edition

The third week of April ushers in several holidays: Passover, Good Friday, Easter.

But no matter what your religion or god -- even a sacrilicious ceiling waffle -- we can all agree that the Employment Law Blog Carnival, which you can find this month at Tim Eavenson's blog: Current Employment, is the workplace glory. 

This month, Tim has more posts about HR-compliance than you can count on your ten fingers. So raise your hands up to the sky and shout Hosanna! The power of the #ELBC compels you! 

Or, just forget my blasphemy and enjoy the carnival.

Whatever.

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P.S. - If you're on LinkedIn, consider joining the discussion of news, trends and insights in employment law, HR, and workplace, by becoming a member of The Employer Handbook LinkedIn Group. Almost as fun as a carnival. I'm still working on getting a Tilt-A-Whirl*

(*By Tilt-A-Whirl, I mean life.)

April 15, 2014

What are employers doing about employees who do their taxes -- at work!?!

Today is tax day, or, as I like to call it, sonofa---!

Actually, I get a nice refund this year. I guess that's what happens when you have four kids under five. Which reminds me, I should ask, do any of you babysit? Because I have Verizon Fios and a jar of Marshmallow Fluff to sweeten the offer.

What? Where was I?

Oh yes, did you know that 30% of workers say that it is common to use company resources like the copier or printer to complete their personal income tax paperwork -- which they prepare during business hours.

That's from a survey quoted in this article from Jeff Blumenthal at Philadelphia Business Journal.

So what can employers do about this?

Wait, you're still here? I'll give you a hint. Go read Jeff's article.

(I'm quoted).

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P.S. - If you're on LinkedIn, consider joining the discussion of news, trends and insights in employment law, HR, and workplace, by becoming a member of The Employer Handbook LinkedIn Group. It's got to be better than the US Airways Social Media All-Stars Group, amirite?

April 4, 2014

3d Cir. on FLSA successor-in-interest liability. Or, as I like to put it, "No Blog Hits" Day

I was on such a roll this week. 

You guys were digging the heck out of my peeing in the breakroom post, David Crosby the alcoholic, and the one about a supervisor offering cash to sleep with an employee's wife.

You know who even read that last one? Scan down to the blog comments. Yep, that's a comment from the plaintiff himself. OMG!!!

But, can you hear the crickets now? I mean, cue the tumbleweed, because if there's anything that grinds momentum to a halt here at The Employer Handbook, it's a post about the Fair Labor Standards Act.

But, since the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which is in my hood and surely knows what a jawn is without me having to hyperlink that jawn, issued this precedential opinion on FLSA successor-in-interest liability yesterday. So, it's the least I could do.

Well, the least I could do is cut right to the chase. So, here's the money shot:

"The imposition of successor liability will often be necessary to achieve the statutory goals [of the National Labor Relations Act and Title VII] because the workers will often be unable to head off a corporate sale by their employer aimed at extinguishing the employer's liability to them. This logic extends to suits to enforce the Fair Labor Standards Act....In the absence of successor liability, a violator of the [FLSA] could escape liability, or at least make relief much more difficult to obtain, by selling its assets without an assumption of liabilities by the buyer (for such an assumption would reduce the purchase price by imposing a cost on the buyer) and then dissolving."

So, buyer beware and either pay less for the acquired company or ---

Hey, is anyone still here? Bueller?

January 28, 2014

The Supreme Court on FLSA, donning, doffing, and Daft Punk!

daftpunk.jpegIf there's one thing I know from my blog stats, it's that no one clicks on my posts about you'll never believe what Justin Bieber did now! the Fair Labor Standards Act.

If there was only some way that I could jazz them up to attract readers.Miley Cyrus is engaged to who? 

Maybe the facts of yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decision discussing Kim Kardashian's latest piercing FLSA "donning and doffing" are sexy enough on their own. 

The Court entertained the question: what young hottie is Taylor Swift dating now? what counts as "clothes" when examining a union contract, which provides that employees don't get paid for time spent "changing clothes" if a union contract says so?

Now, you may be asking yourself, "Which Real Housewives star got drunk and arrested?" "How can I contain my excitement?"

Ok, calm down. I'll get to the punchline. Tom Cruise renounces Scientology for Buddhism. The Supreme Court held, in this opinion, that time spent putting on and taking off protective gear such as jackets, pants, Beyonce's wardrobe malfunction hardhats, boots, or other items that clearly cover body parts and are articles of dress, is not compensable under the FLSA if the union and employer agree that such "donning and doffing" is not compensable.

(In non-union environments, "donning and doffing" protective gear is compensable).

Whew, that was a hot post! I just hope someone reads it.

January 8, 2014

GUEST POST: Flexible Work Location for FLSA-Exempt Employees

guestblogger.jpgToday, we have a guest blogger at The Employer Handbook. It's Johanna Harris. Johanna has been a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor and in-house labor counsel for two multinational corporations. She is currently the CEO of Hire Fire and Retire LLC. Her new book, USE PROTECTION: An Employee's Guide to Advancement in the Workplace, is a basic primer on HR law and personnel policies.

Flexible work arrangements take many forms. Arranging flexible hours and schedules can be fairly straightforward and is often dictated by business needs. Flexibility of work location, however, is more difficult to manage. After the jump, this guest post addresses the issues raised by allowing employees to work at locations other than their assigned offices.

(Want to guest blog on an employment-law topic at The Employer Handbook? Email me).

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Continue reading "GUEST POST: Flexible Work Location for FLSA-Exempt Employees" »

December 27, 2013

A general manager may have to pay his employer's wage-and-hour debts

emptypockets.jpgEarlier this month, in this post, I highlighted a Pennsylvania federal court opinion recognizing that the Fair Labor Standards Act definition of "employer" is broad enough to bestow personal liability for a company's wage-and-hour debts upon its President/CEO.

Well, how about a general manager that has zero ownership interest in the company? Could he too be personally responsible if his company fails to pay minimum wage or overtime?

According to a recent decision from an Illinois federal court, there answer is yes:

This analysis looks at the totality of the circumstances of the employment relationship, as opposed to formalistic or technical labels. Courts focus not on whether the individual controlled 'every aspect' of an employee's job, but whether the individual 'had control over the alleged FLSA violation.'... Although low-level supervisors, such as those without control over a corporation's payroll, generally are not individually liable under FLSA, '[a] general manager may be personally liable for FLSA violations if he or she acted on behalf of the corporation to cause the violations.'
I'm pretty sure that this decision means that the Brooklyn Nets can stick its General Manager with the bill for all of the overpaid has-beens stinking up the basketball court this season. 

Look out Billy King!
November 20, 2013

Welcome to the Employment Law Blog Carnival: Hollywood Villains Edition

Welcome everyone to the Employment Law Blog Carnival. What you'll find after the jump is the best, recent posts from around the employment-law blogosphere all organized around a common theme.

So, yeah, we need a theme.

[Lousy blog rules]

Two years ago, we spun some tunes with the "Employment Law Blog Carnival: Jukebox Edition." That featured such hits like "If You Love HIPAA, Let Me See You Twerk It" and a Sex Pistols B-side hidden track about social media policies.

Last year, I went with the "Employment Law Blog Carnival: Hollywood Casting Call Edition." To the casual internet user, my writing in that post may have seemed, oh, what's the word, "deranged"? Here is an actual quote:

Stuart Rudner blogs "When trust has been destroyed: Just cause for dismissal." The Canadian adaptation, "Haste Makes Waste," is set for release next year and stars Dustin Diamond as Wayne Gretzky. No, not that Wayne Gretzky. Just some guy who plays a total screw-up and happens to have the same name as the "Great One," which, in turn, helps him to keep his job.

But, to you, my fans, you recognize it as something more than the product of some bad salmon I ingested just before a marathon two-finger typing session. It's gold!

So, mainly since my brain is fried from churning out this drivel -- free drivel -- every weekday, let's stick with the Hollywood theme. How about the Employment Law Blog Carnival: Hollywood Villains Edition? Hannibal Lechter would approve, I'm sure. You may even see him after the jump.

So grab some liver, fava beans and nice chianti and click through to read the carnival offerings...

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Continue reading "Welcome to the Employment Law Blog Carnival: Hollywood Villains Edition" »

October 18, 2013

Does the FLSA require paying employees who wait in security lines at work?

True story.

Back in 1999, when I was in law school in Washington DC, I went with my buddy to see The Matrix at the Uptown Theater in Cleveland Park. At the time, the Uptown was one of the best places around to watch an action flick. And what better movie to see than The Matrix -- one of my top 10 movies of all time.

WTH does this have to do with the Fair Labor Standards Act? 

Uh, duh...

[Humor me and click through, would ya?]

Continue reading "Does the FLSA require paying employees who wait in security lines at work?" »

September 18, 2013

DOL provides guidance on home care workers and law firm internships

DOLlogo.pngI remember back in the good old days, when law-firm internships meant private jets, caviar lunches and....toilet paper? As if!.

But now, times are tougher. Some firms find themselves forced to forego paying law students in lieu of offering volunteer pro bono opportunities to enable them to receive work experience. This recent advice letter from the Department of Labor sorts out the circumstances in which not paying these interns will pass muster on the Fair Labor Standards Act.

But the DOL wasn't done there. Yesterday, it announced a final rule extending the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage and overtime protections to most of the nation's workers who provide essential home care assistance to elderly people and people with illnesses, injuries or disabilities. There is also a new set of answer to Frequently Asked Questions here.

August 27, 2013

That's what they said: Solving your Labor Day employee-pay issues

theysaid.jpgMonday is Labor Day, the day I plan to break the Guinness World Record for twerking and eating BLTs -- they call it BLTwerking a tribute to the American Worker.

If you give your employees the day off on Labor Day, a national holiday, do you have to pay them?

My buds Jon Hyman and Mike Haberman have your answers here and here.


June 19, 2013

28 ways to avoid breaking the law when hiring summer interns

It's that time of year.

unpaidintern1.jpg

You're hiring summer interns and I'm shaving a spoked B into my playoff beard looking for an excuse to recycle my six keys to keeping unpaid internships from becoming a hot wage & hour mess.

See what I just did there?

Oh, you saw the lede and thought I was actually going to give you 28 ways?

See what I just did there?

Oh, quit your whining. Here are 22 others:

Are we up to 28 yet?

Close enough.

Update: I feel bloated awful about shorting you on the the summer intern links. So, here is the latest edition of the Employment Law Blog Carnival: The Summer Blockbuster Edition. Thank you for hosting, Jon Hyman.

March 6, 2013

CHEATSHEET: How to pay employees for Daylight Savings Time work

sun.jpg

This Sunday, Daylight Savings Time begins, as we push the clocks forward one hour at 2:00 AM on March 10, 2013.

Did someone say Clocks?

How does the time change affect the manner in which you pay hourly non-exempt employees who work the graveyard shift? I'll let the Department of Labor explain:

On the Sunday that Daylight Savings Time starts at 2:00 a.m., the employee does not work the hour from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. because at 2:00 a.m. all of the clocks are turned forward to 3:00 a.m. Thus, on this day the employee only worked 7 hours, even though the schedule was for 8 hours.
The FLSA requires that employees must be credited with all of the hours actually worked. Therefore, if the employee is in a work situation similar to that described in the above example, he or she worked 7 hours on the day that Daylight Savings Time begins....

Of course, when we get to November and set the clocks back, remember that employees working the graveyard shift must be paid an extra hour.

But, until then, enjoy the sun.

P.S. - If you are going to be in Washington, DC on Monday for SHRM's 2013 Employment Law and Legislative Conference, please drop me a line. I'd like to meet you. 

First drink is on you. After all, it's the least you could do.