New Jersey Passes the Broadest Wage Theft Law in Country With Dire Consequences for Employers

Introduction: On the heels of the broadest Pay Equity law in the country, New Jersey has just passed the broadest wage theft law in the country, which is certain to lead to increased litigation. Unwary employers may not only be facing insurmountable fines and penalties, but potentially jail time for even minor violations of the new law. The new law establishes treble damages and criminal penalties for non-payment of wages to New Jersey employees. More importantly, there is a presumption of retaliation for any adverse employment action that occurs for months after an employee complains about their wages. The presumption is rebuttable, but only if the employer produces clear and convincing evidence. The law further extends the statute of limitations to six years and allows for reinstatement of employees. Continue reading

Non-Kosher Provisions in FLSA Settlements in the Second Circuit

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Jeffrey Shooman

I came across a short court order a few days ago that admonished settling parties in an FLSA suit for including an impermissible provision in the settlement.  Vasquez v. T&W Rest., Inc., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121129 (S.D.N.Y. July 19, 2019).  In the opinion, Magistrate Judge Pitman reminded the parties that “provision[s] prohibiting the re-employment of plaintiff . . . are not permissible in an FLSA settlement.”  Continue reading

Chicago Passes Ordinance Requiring Employers to Provide Predictive Scheduling for Certain Industries

In the most expansive predictive scheduling law in the country to date, Chicago City officials passed the “Fair Workweek Ordinance” on July 24, 2019, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot has indicated she would quickly sign the Ordinance. The Ordinance provides extensive protection for certain employees with regard to advance scheduling of work. Although employers have some time to get used to the idea, by July 1, 2020, they will need to have a firm plan in place to address this new Ordinance. Continue reading

DOL Pivots, Providing Guidance Likely To Mitigate Recent Blitz of Minimum Wage Class Actions Related to Sleep Time And Off Duty Time Spent In Vehicles

Executive Summary: Almost all long-haul drivers are exempt from overtime under the motor carrier exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, these same drivers are not exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage requirements. Due to the ongoing driver shortage, drivers’ rates far exceed the minimum wage, especially when considering the Motor Carrier Safety Act limits on-duty hours to 60 per week. So it’s no surprise that many motor carriers were caught off guard when federal courts found them liable for not paying minimum wage because they failed to count the time drivers spent sleeping as hours worked. In guidance issued July 22, 2019 the United States Department of Labor (DOL) addressed the circumstances when time in the sleeper berth is compensable and shifted the burden to drivers to prove they were performing compensable work in the berth, providing “straightforward” guidance for the motor carrier industry and a defense to the minimum wage claims. Continue reading

U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s Equal Pay Fight Continues As They Defend Their Title As World Champions

Gray, Kristin - 300dpi
Kristin Gray

On March 8, 2019, all 28 players on the women’s national team, initiated a proposed class and collective action in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against the United States Soccer Federation alleging discrimination based on sex in violation of the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VII”).  Notably, the players chose to file suit on International Women’s Day, which is intended to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, as well as to raise awareness of gender equality issues.  Their fight continues as they defend their title as world champions at the World Cup. Continue reading

Judge Refuses To Dismiss Domino’s Collective Action Without Seeing Settlement Agreement

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Russell Jackson

On May 17, 2019, Judge Renee Marie Bumb of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey rejected the parties’ request to dismiss a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) lawsuit without the Judge’s review of the settlement agreements.  In doing so, the District Court ordered defendants to submit the settlement agreement reached with the named plaintiff or attest that no agreement covering FLSA claims exists.  The case is Kessler v. Joarder Props., LLC, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83571 (D.N.J. May 17, 2019) and is a reminder for employers engaged in FLSA litigation that obtaining court approval is a requirement before dismissal of the action is proper. Continue reading