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Second Circuit Affirms: Business Not Obligated to Pay $350,000 “Performance” Bonus to Prospective Employee Who Never Worked A Day

Last year, a Manhattan federal district judge reviewed a decision of a federal bankruptcy court and held that Lehman Brothers was not required to pay a $350,000 performance bonus referenced in the offer letter of a prospective employee who never provided services. In doing so, the Court observed that the Firm terminated the contractual relationship … Continue Reading

NYSDOL Issues Guidance on Fast Food Wage Order and Increased State Cash Minimum Wage For Hospitality Workers

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) recently posted answers to Frequently Asked Questions related to the new Fast Food Wage Order and increased state minimum wage for hospitality workers, both of which take effect on December 31, 2015.  As previously covered here, the state minimum wage in New York will increase to $9.00 … Continue Reading

Illinois Judge Holds that Individual Liability Under FLSA Requires Both Ownership and Operational Control

The definition of an “employer” under the FLSA is, like a number of FLSA provisions, not well defined, as set forth in a long and thoughtful opinion from Judge Manish S. Shah of the Northern District of Illinois. Schneider v. Cornerstone Pints, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166993 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 1, 2015). However, it … Continue Reading

New York City Enacts Municipal Office of Labor Standards; Office’s Initial Mandate Is To Enforce NYC Earned Sick Time Act

On November 30, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio signed a bill establishing an “Office of Labor Standards,” to be headed by a Director appointed by the Mayor. The Office, once established, is tasked with “study[ing] and mak[ing] recommendations for worker education, safety and protection, educat[ing] employers on labor laws, creat[ing] public education … Continue Reading

Corrections Officers’ Pleading Did Not Establish That County Was “Primary Beneficiary” Of Unpaid Meal Period

Time spent by employees in meal and other breaks continues to prompt litigation against public and private sector employers. In a recent decision, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that corrections officers at a Pennsylvania prison failed to allege a violation of the FLSA by challenging the County’s failure to compensate them … Continue Reading

New York Industrial Board of Appeals Upholds Fast Food Wage Order

In an eight-page decision dated today, New York’s Industrial Board of Appeals (the “IBA,” an arm of the state Department of Labor) upheld the Commissioner of Labor’s Fast Food Wage Order.  In so doing, the IBA rejected challenges to the Order from the National Restaurant Association based on: 1) the composition of the Fast Food … Continue Reading

Industrial Board of Appeals Hears Arguments Regarding New York Fast Food Wage Order

Last week, the New York Industrial Board of Appeals (an arm of the New York Department of Labor) heard oral argument on the National Restaurant Association’s petition to invalidate the Department of Labor’s recent Fast Food Wage Order. If implemented, the Wage Order, which is scheduled to take effect on December 31, 2015, would increase … Continue Reading

Oklahoma Federal Court Finds Expense Reimbursement Need Not Be “Rolled In” To Overtime Calculation

Fixed payments made on other than an hourly basis to non-exempt (i.e., overtime eligible) workers often must be included in the regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating overtime.  One type of payment that may be excluded from the regular rate calculation is payment for “reasonable payments for travel expenses, or other expenses, incurred … Continue Reading

Court Finds Commissioned Jewelry Salesman Qualifies For Outside Sales Exemption Based On His Own Complaint’s Allegations

Because most FLSA exemptions are affirmative defenses, their applicability is not often established by the Plaintiff’s Complaint, of which s/he is “master” and can shape to avoid addressing exemption-triggering duties. There are exceptions. In a recent opinion, a Manhattan federal district judge ruled that a commissioned salesman who traveled from his home office to conduct … Continue Reading

Prominent NY Restaurateur Eliminates Tipping

As New York’s hospitality industry prepares for a reduced tip credit and a fast food minimum wage, one New York restaurateur has announced its intention to eliminate tipping and thus, by extension, use of the tip credit: New York City’s Danny Meyer.  This lengthy Eater feature discusses Meyer’s audacious new Hospitality Included program, noting the … Continue Reading

New York Federal Court Finds Business Properly Classified Translators As Independent Contractors

This month, two New York federal judges reviewing a claim of misclassification rejected a claim for overtime compensation, agreeing that a business properly classified two translators as independent contractors rather than as “employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law. See Mateo v. Universal Language Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Rejects Airline Deregulation Act Preemption Challenge To Living Wage Ordinance

Courts continue to wrestle with preemption issues, the tension between sweeping federal laws purporting to regulate an industry or industries and laws enacted at the local level, such as labor laws impacting labor costs. In the most recent example, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rejected a cargo airline’s argument that the Airline … Continue Reading

Uber Litigation Continues To Serve As Legal Lightning Rod for “On Demand” Economy

Cases challenging the independent contractor status of certain service providers under the wage-and-hour laws are likely to continue in the near future due to the difficulties in applying the law to complex factual patterns. The Department of Labor recently provided additional guidance for determining contractor status in the form of an Administrator’s Interpretation (and the … Continue Reading

NY Commissioner of Labor Adopts Fast Food Wage Board Report

Today, Acting Commissioner of Labor Mario Musolino adopted the Fast Food Wage Board’s July recommendations, in an Order available here.  The Order takes effect within thirty days of its publication in ten New York newspapers.  Employers covered – or arguably covered – by the definition of “Fast Food Establishment” contained in the Wage Board’s recommendations … Continue Reading

Second Circuit: $350/Hour Sufficient Fee For Plaintiffs’ Counsel in FLSA Cases

One common impediment to resolution of FLSA claims is the amount of attorneys’ fees sought by the claimant’s attorney. One important factor in assessing an appropriate fee is the rate likely to be awarded by the Court should Plaintiff prevail in that jurisdiction. A new appeals court decision approves fixing that rate at $350/hour for … Continue Reading

The Confusing Array of Wage Hour Developments Impacting New York State Employers’ Wage and Hour Compliance

In prior posts, we have summarized the New York State Department of Labor’s most recent rulemaking processes, comprised of two separate wage boards. The first, in 2014, addressed the hospitality industry as a whole, while more recently, in 2015, another highly publicized wage board addressed the subset of that industry deemed “fast food.” Employers should … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Finds That Insurance Claims Adjusters Are Exempt Administrative Employees Under California Law

Applying California’s administrative exemption test, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently concluded an insurance company properly classified its claims adjusters (who handled and processed disability claims) as exempt from the overtime provisions of the California Labor Code, notwithstanding the clerical duties the adjusters performed and their characterization of their work as … Continue Reading

New York’s Fast Food Wage Board Confirms: $15/Hour

In a televised meeting this afternoon, New York’s recently-convened Fast Food Wage Board confirmed industry employers’ fears and announced its unanimous recommendation that the wage for “fast food employees” in “fast food establishments” be increased to $15/hour by December 31, 2018 in New York City and by July 1, 2021 in the rest of New … Continue Reading

Washington’s Highest Court Rules Piece Rate Compensation Does Not Satisfy Rest Break Pay Requirement

Like all compensation methods, piece rate compensation plans – under which an employee is compensated based on the number of “pieces” he or she generates or completes – must be analyzed for wage-and-hour compliance. For example, under federal law, minimum wage generally is due for all hours worked, and there are recordkeeping obligations, although some … Continue Reading

Commissioned Sales Employee Not Entitled To Commission Payment Under The Plain Language Of Incentive Compensation Plan

This blog has stressed (most recently here and here) the importance of carefully drafting incentive compensations plans to avoid unintentionally converting incentive compensation into earned “wages” protected under state law.   Another recent decision, this one from the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reinforces the employer benefits of careful drafting. Lawson v. Sun Microsystems, … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds “Primary Beneficiary” Test Is Standard To Determine Employee Status Of Unpaid Interns; Likely Dooms Any Unpaid Intern Class and Collective Actions

The Second Circuit today issued two eagerly anticipated decisions addressing the standard that should be applied to determine whether unpaid interns at a for-profit employer are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) entitled to compensation for services provided. Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., Nos. 13-4478-cv, 13-4481-cv (2d Cir. July 2, 2015); Wang … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Affirms Tennis Umpires Properly Classified as Independent Contractors

The Second Circuit recently held that the United States Tennis Association properly classified tennis umpires who handled the U.S. Open as independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law. In doing so, the court rejected the umpires’ claims for alleged unpaid overtime, as such laws do not apply to … Continue Reading

Manhattan Federal Court: Financial Firm Retained Discretion to Award or Not Award Bonus

As we recently noted in our discussion of Massachusetts law, incentive compensation has the potential to become “wages” protected by state labor law once it is “earned.” However, when an employer conveys to the employee that it retains discretion to award or not award incentive compensation in any specific amount, such potential incentive compensation (whether … Continue Reading
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