North Carolina, like many other states in the Southeast, rarely takes the prize when it comes to being a trailblazer for employment laws. Instead, states such as California, New York or Oregon are the usual suspects for such distinctions. However, on July 1, 2018, North Carolina did become the first state in the nation to increase the minimum wage for most of its state employees to $15 per hour (which would equate to a minimum of $31,200, annually). New York, by contrast, does not plan to reach the $15 per hour minimum wage milestone for its state employees until 2021. Continue reading
Executive Summary: With Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) lawsuits becoming ubiquitous in recent years, it can be easy to forget that the act does not apply to all businesses or all employees. On July 17, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit provided a useful reminder that the first step in analyzing any FLSA claim is not determining if there are minimum wage or overtime violations, but rather if the FLSA applies at all. Specifically, in Collar v. Abalux, Inc., No. 18-10676, __ F.3d __, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 19592 (11th Cir. July 17, 2018) the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment to an employer because the FLSA was not triggered given that the company had less than $500,000 in annual gross receipts, which is the minimum for enterprise coverage under the statute. Continue reading
In most circumstances, the FLSA requires employers to pay non-exempt employees for the time they spend traveling from one work site to another during their work day. This is not breaking news, but, as it is a topic that impacts a large number of employers, it is important for employers to understand the rules surrounding compensable travel time. The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an opinion letter earlier this year on the topic that helps clarify the travel time principles under the FLSA and the multiple DOL regulations that come into play on this issue. The DOL’s opinion letter FLSA2018-18, available at https://www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/FLSA/2018/2018_04_12_01_FLSA.pdf, provides a straightforward guide to some simple rules to follow in this context. Continue reading
Executive Summary: On July 26, 2018, the California Supreme Court ruled that Starbucks must pay employees for minutes, maybe even seconds, spent on off-the-clock “work” by determining that the Plaintiff’s alleged class action state wage claims are not barred by the de minimis doctrine. Continue reading
Executive Summary: Earlier this week, in Lewis v. Governor of Alabama, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 20635, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals resurrected a lawsuit alleging Alabama’s predominantly-white state legislature discriminated against the workers in Birmingham, a predominantly black city, by overriding the city’s ordinance to increase the city’s minimum wage. While changes to the minimum wage often elicit strong opinions from employers, workers, and other interested parties, few laws have engendered the passions and inspired the racially-charged allegations presented in Lewis. As discussed below, in light of the Eleventh Circuit’s recent opinion, employers and workers in Birmingham must continue to wait to see if the city’s increased minimum wage will ever take effect.
Executive Summary: On July 13, 2018, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (“FAB”) aimed at clarifying the standard utilized to determine if home care workers qualify as employees or joint employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Over the past few years, the DOL has issued and then withdrawn guidance regarding the proper standard and evaluation of home worker classification, leaving uncertainty for the industry. The new guidance provides clarity on the subject and provides home care registries a road map for proper classification.