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Wage & Hour Law Update

Category Archives: States

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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

Massachusetts Federal Court: Discretionary Bonus Not “Earned” Commission Protected by Massachusetts Minimum Wage Act

An employee’s entitlement to incentive compensation continues to be a litigation issue. Recently, a Massachusetts federal district court held that an employer’s refusal to award an employee a discretionary bonus does not violate the Massachusetts Wage Act. Comley v. Media Planning Grp., No. 14-10032, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76383 (D. Mass. June 12, 2015). In… Continue Reading

Massachusetts Supreme Court: Real Estate Brokers Not Covered by 2004 Independent Contractor Law Based On Continued Applicability of Real Estate Statute

Litigation regarding the status of workers as independent contractors or employees continues to be a hotbed of litigation. This is true even in industries that have long-considered workers as independent contractors, such as real estate agents. Attorneys representing workers, for example, have turned to state statutes addressing independent contractor status to attempt to upset these… Continue Reading

Minimum Wage Increases – Another Challenge For National Employers and Unintended Consequences For the Public

As with the recent uptick in state and municipal paid leave laws, employers in multiple jurisdictions now find themselves faced with a similar national bandwagon in favor of increased state and municipal minimum wage requirements, highlighted by the Los Angeles City Council’s recent decision to ratify a proposal moving that City’s minimum wage to $15… Continue Reading

New York Introduces Regulations Concerning Use of Payroll Debit Cards

Like many states before it, New York today published new proposed regulations to provide “clarification and specification as to the permissible methods of payment [in New York], including [the use of] payroll debit cards.”  The proposed regulations require voluntary consent from employees paid pursuant to such a program, and set minimum program requirements for feeless… Continue Reading

New York “Fast Food Wage Board” Formally Convened

Responding to the Governor’s directive, Acting State Labor Commission Mario J. Musolino has empaneled a Wage Board to recommend a minimum wage increase for the fast food industry. Commissioner Musolino issued a determination regarding the inadequacy of the current minimum wage which states, “I am of the opinion that a substantial number of fast food… Continue Reading

Indiana Appeals Court Declines to Adjudicate Pastor’s Claim For Unpaid Vacation, Citing Ministerial Exception

Courts adjudicating employment disputes under employment statutes will decline to do so where inquiry into the employment relationship will interfere with First Amendment religious protections. Often, this concerns a claim challenging the legality of termination of a member of the clergy, but the concept can also extend to such employees’ claims under wage-and-hour laws, as… Continue Reading

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rejects Claim That Union Could Not Waive Paid Meal Period Rights On Behalf of Members

Unionized employers often enter into agreements with employees regarding compensation for particular hours or break periods. These agreements are reached through bargaining for the mutual benefit of the employer and union members. At times, such agreements can potentially be in tension with Department of Labor regulations regarding hours of work and break periods. The Wisconsin… Continue Reading

Consistent With Recent Decisions, Maryland Judge Finds Vocational School Students Not FLSA “Employees”

Like interns, vocational students often provide some degree of service as part of their vocational program. For this reason, such arrangements are susceptible to the allegation that these services are compensable “work time” under the FLSA. While such allegations have been made in some recent cases, in the first handful of these to reach decision,… Continue Reading

Trenton Sick Leave Law Withstands Judicial Challenge; Philadelphia Sick Leave Law May Become Preempted

Trenton, New Jersey, like numerous other municipalities (especially in New Jersey), recently enacted its own paid sick leave law. As with Seattle’s recent minimum wage rulemaking, a coalition of New Jersey business groups challenged the city’s authority to do so, urging that the ordinance exceeded the city’s police powers and offended constitutional protections. New Jersey… Continue Reading

Complying with DC Wage Theft Act

The District of Columbia, like California, has followed New York’s lead in enacting a new Wage Theft Prevention Act requiring issuance of individual wage notices.  Analysis of the Act and its requirements is available at the Jackson Lewis Workplace Resource Center here.

Origins of Wage-and-Hour Jurisprudence: Portland Terminal

Many current FLSA compensation issues which are the subject of widespread litigation – such as the current wave of intern cases – have their legal underpinnings in Supreme Court authority decided during the 1940s in the years following the enactment of the FLSA (1938) and the Portal-to-Portal Act (1947).  For example, courts seeking to interpret… Continue Reading

Utah’s Highest Court Finds LLC Managers Were Not Employers Under State Wage Law

When small entrepreneurial ventures collapse, disputes sometimes arise regarding who constituted an “employee” of the business and whether they were paid proper wages.  As the venture has failed, the issue of individual liability often is raised.  In a new decision, Utah’s highest court clarifies that Managers of a limited liability company are not liable for… Continue Reading

New York AG Schneiderman Introduces Pay Card Legislation

Following his investigation of the issue, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last week proposed the Payroll Card Act, which would require employers: To permit employees to elect whether to be paid through a payroll card, direct deposit, or to receive a paper check; To provide notice of payroll card program terms and conditions, including… Continue Reading

Philadelphia Joins New York City, Newark and Many Other Jurisdictions In Requiring Paid Sick Leave

On February 12, Mayor Michael Nutter signed a bill requiring Philadelphia employers with 10 or more employees to offer paid sick leave, joining neighbors New York City and Newark, New Jersey, as well as other states and localities, in enacting such a requirement.  The Philadelphia bill takes effect in mid-May, and requires that eligible employees accrue paid… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Judge Rejects Contract Claim for Meal Period Pay

Hospitals and other medical service providers continue to face waves of wage-and-hour claims concerning meal break practices, with non-exempt care providers alleging that they were unable to take unpaid meal periods, or that those meal periods were otherwise compensable.  A new decision from Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejects a… Continue Reading

New York Wage Board Issues Recommendation Regarding Tip Credit

Completing its task assigned by former Commissioner of Labor Peter Rivera, the current New York Wage Board has issued its recommended findings to the Commissioner with respect to tip credit issues.  Most importantly for hospitality employers – an industry sector which includes many small, low-margin businesses – if approved by the Commissioner, the available tip… Continue Reading

Utah Federal Court Reiterates That Employees Are Only Entitled to Tips Under FLSA If A Tip Credit Is Applied

While many state laws regulate the distribution of gratuities (as well as service charges and other fees), the overwhelming judicial view, as originally set forth by the Ninth Circuit in Cumbie v. Woody Woo and joined by district courts in other jurisdictions, holds that an employee’s right to tips under the FLSA flows exclusively from… Continue Reading