The Writing is on the Wall: A $15 Minimum Wage Edges Toward the New Normal

Ferrier, Valerie - 300dpi
Valerie Ferrier

Executive Summary: As Democrats take over the House of Representatives this month, some will be pushing to increase the federal minimum wage, which has remained stagnant at $7.25 per hour for the past decade. Not content to wait for Congress, the “Fight for 15” movement has scored victories throughout the country by increasing wages locally. Many states and localities will be or have already begun raising the minimum wage incrementally until they reach $15. Against this shifting backdrop, employers with operations in multiple cities need to be aware of different minimum wage rates that may be applicable in certain localities, even if such rates differ from those in the rest of the state.

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DOL Currently Surveying Wages Paid to Construction Workers in North Carolina

Gray, Kristin - 300dpi
Kristin Gray

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”) is currently conducting a survey seeking information from employers on wages paid to construction workers in 46 metropolitan North Carolina counties on all active building projects.  The DOL is seeking this information to establish prevailing wage rates required under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (“DBRA”). Continue reading

Out With The Old; In With The Original: DOL Re-issues 2009 Tip Credit Guidance

Briit, Louis - 300dpi
Louis Britt

On November 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) re-issued an opinion letter abandoning the “80/20 Rule,” which prohibited employers from taking a tip credit if a tipped employee spent more than 20% of his or her working time on non-tipped work.

The opinion letter is a re-issuance of one previously published on January 16, 2009 by the Bush administration.  The letter, however, was withdrawn once President Obama took office. The DOL’s new guidance provides restaurant and hospitality employers with clarity and a more practical approach defining when a tip credit can be taken. Continue reading

An Employer’s Duty to Preserve Documents Beyond the FLSA’s Record Keeping Requirements

Benton, Lori - 300dpi
Lori Benton

Executive Summary:  The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires a covered employer to maintain and preserve certain records for different classifications of employees. See 29 CFR § 516. Many states have similar record keeping requirements. Notwithstanding these statutory record keeping requirements, an employer in compliance can still be subject to sanctions for failure to preserve documents relevant to an employee’s wage and hour claim.   Continue reading

Settlement Talk Over Sushi: The Second Circuit Set to Decide Key FLSA Settlement Issue

Ryan, Patrick - 300dpi
Pat Ryan

Executive Summary:    Earlier this week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments regarding whether judicial review of a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) settlement is required before entry of an offer of judgment pursuant to Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”).  While there is longstanding history mandating court approval of FLSA settlements, the majority of district courts in the Second Circuit—unlike most other Circuits—have allowed Rule 68 settlements absent judicial approval.  As such, employers in this Circuit have increasingly tried to use Rule 68 to avoid judicial scrutiny of settlement agreements.  After hearing oral arguments in Yu v. Hasaki Restaurant, Inc., 319 F.R.D. 111 (S.D.N.Y. 2017) this week, the Second Circuit appears primed to weigh in on this unsettled and controversial issue—which will determine whether judicial review or a system resembling private party contracting will govern in the Second Circuit.  Continue reading

Recent Case Provides Food for Thought on “Primary Duty” of FLSA Overtime-Exempt Managers

Prendergast, Mike - 300dpi
Mike Prendergast

In Clendenen v. Steak N Shake Operations, Inc., Case No. 4:17-cv-01506-JAR, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167101 (E.D. Mo. Sept. 28, 2018), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri recently granted conditional class certification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to Steak ‘n Shake restaurant managers challenging their classification as overtime-exempt under the FLSA’s executive and administrative exemptions.  Conditional certification is the first step toward maintaining an FLSA collective action.  The Clendenen court found evidence to support conditional certification, including evidence that the managers’ duties were “largely the same as the non-exempt employees they supervised.”  Continue reading

Inching Closer to a New Overtime Rule?

Adams, Julie 300dpi
Julie Adams

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) modified 29 C.F.R. § 541 – which regulates  the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) white-collar exemptions (administrative, executive, professional, computer, and outside sales) – often referred to as the “Overtime Rule.”  Among other changes, the new Overtime Rule increased the salary threshold for white-collar employees from $23,660 to $47,476.  Before the new Overtime Rule took effect, Judge Amos Mazzant, a federal district judge in Texas, temporarily blocked the rule by entering an injunction in Nevada v. United States Dep’t of Labor, 227 F. Supp. 3d 696 (E.D. Tex. 2017).  Rather than appeal Judge Mazzant’s decision and pursue implementation of the revised 2016 rule, the DOL elected, instead, to proceed with a new rulemaking.  Continue reading