Alabama Passes State Equal Pay Act

On June 11, 2019, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the Clark-Figures Equal Pay Act (the “Alabama EPA”). The Alabama EPA provides that it shall be unlawful for an employer to “pay any of its employees at wage rates less than those paid to employees of another sex or race for equal work within the same establishment on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and performance under similar working conditions.” The Alabama EPA takes effect September 1, 2019. Previously, employers and employees in Alabama were subject to the federal Equal Pay Act (the “EPA”). Similar to the EPA, no discriminatory intent has to be proven under the Alabama EPA, and an employee can recover the wage differential plus interest. In contrast to the EPA, the Alabama EPA does not permit recovery of liquidated damages (double the amount of the wage differential) or attorneys’ fees. Also in contrast to the EPA, the Alabama EPA requires parity in wages based on race as well as sex. The Alabama EPA specifically permits wage differentials resulting from a merit system, a seniority system, or a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production. An employer also may raise a defense that the wage differential was based on a factor other than sex or race, although the final version of the Alabama EPA does not provide any examples of such factors. Continue reading

How Many Benefits are Included in the Calculation of Regular Rate? The World May Never Know

Briit, Louis - 300dpi
Louis Britt

On March 28, 2019, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a lengthy and detailed Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to revise the regulations governing how employers should calculate “regular rate” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Upon release, the DOL set a deadline for public notice and comment of May 28, 2019. However, citing the interest expressed by “law firms, unions, and advocacy organizations,” the DOL extended the period for public comment to June 12, 2019. Continue reading

Ninth Circuit Applies Dynamex Retroactively

Executive Summary: In 2018, the California Supreme Court adopted the “ABC test” for determining whether workers are independent contractors under California wage orders (the Dynamex decision). For a discussion of that decision, please see our May 3, 2018 Alert. The ABC test makes it more difficult in many cases for companies to classify a worker as an independent contractor than under the prior generally-applied common law test. As such, the adoption of the ABC test increases many California employers’ exposure for minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest periods, and other benefits owed to employees but not to independent contractors. On May 2, 2019, in Vasquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., the Ninth Circuit concluded that the ABC test should be applied retroactively to situations that arose before the Dynamex decision came out. Continue reading

DOL Provides Roadmap to Avoid Misclassification of Gig Workers

Executive Summary: On April 29, 2019, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) released a new opinion letter, FLSA2019-6, examining whether service providers for a virtual marketplace company (VMC) are employees or independent contractors. This opinion letter provides a road map for online brokers of services provided by independent contractors to ensure they are not misclassified as employees. Continue reading

Maryland Raises Minimum Wage

Maryland joined the parade of states raising the minimum wage to the magic number of $15 per hour when the state legislature voted to override the veto of Governor Larry Hogan on March 28, 2019. The minimum wage for employers with 15 or more employees will increase annually commencing January 1, 2020 until it reaches the $15 per hour level on January 1, 2025. The minimum wage for smaller employers will increase annually at a slower pace, and reach $15 on July 1, 2026. The initial increase for all employers effective January 1, 2020 raises the minimum wage to $11 per hour from the current $10.10. Continue reading

DOL Proposes New Revisions to Overtime Exemption Rules

Executive Summary: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued its proposed overtime regulations to replace the Obama administration’s (enjoined) overtime rule. The DOL raised the minimum salary threshold requirement for workers to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s white collar exemptions to $35,308 per year (or $679 per week). The proposed rule raises the threshold from $23,660 per year (or $455 per week). For highly compensated employees, the DOL raised the salary threshold from $100,000 to $134,000. The proposed regulation would make more than one million additional workers eligible for overtime. The DOL also proposed regular increases to the threshold every four years following public comment. Continue reading