Archives: Damages

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Louisiana Federal Court Rules Half-Time Method Applies to Calculation of Any Alleged Unpaid Overtime and Bonuses Paid Offset Any Potential Liability

Courts addressing FLSA misclassification claims brought by employees classified as salaried exempt workers must determine damages. In a new decision from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Jane Triche Milazzo ruled that successful Plaintiffs in one such misclassification case are only entitled to “half-time” damages. Further, the Court ruled … Continue Reading

Maryland High Court Issues Opinion Regarding Right of Employees to Sue for Unpaid Wages

On March 22, 2014, Maryland’s highest court issued a new ruling regarding the scope of an employee’s right to file a lawsuit for unpaid wages under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (the “MWPCL”), Maryland’s principal wage payment statute.  In Marshall v. Safeway, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that an employee may bring … Continue Reading

Georgia Judge Rejects Novel Assertion of Section 1981 Discrimination Claim Based on Failure to Pay Immigration Visa Rate to US Workers

"As the season for sweet onions ends, another onion farm labor dispute begins," observes Judge B. Avant Edenfield of the Southern District of Georgia in a new opinion, commenting upon the flurry of FLSA lawsuits filed in recent years in the American Southeast arising out of labor conditions at large farming concerns utilizing immigrant workers. Judge … Continue Reading

Federal Court Orders Trial Regarding Lady Gaga Assistant’s Wage Claims

In the still unresolved FLSA litigation concerning alleged unpaid overtime brought by a former personal assistant to entertainer Stefani Germanotta a/k/a Lady Gaga, Judge Paul Gardephe of the Southern District of New York has issued a lengthy ruling addressing some of the asserted claims and defenses. The Court concluded that plaintiff’s New York state law claims … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Reiterates Appropriate Calculation of Damages For Employees Misclassified as Exempt

In a decision issued on August 16, 2013, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, building on its now-venerable ruling in Blackmon v. Brookshire Grocery Co., 835 F.2d 1135 (5th Cir. 1988), reversed a trial court ruling that refused to apply the “half time” measure of damages in an FLSA misclassification case. Ransom v. M. … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Rules Liquidated Damages Discretionary, Not Automatic, in FLSA Retaliation Cases

Addressing a divided body of law, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit — where numerous FLSA actions are brought particularly within the state of Florida — has ruled that a Florida district court did not err when it declined to award 100% FLSA liquidated damages to several plaintiffs who prevailed at a jury … Continue Reading

Mississippi Court Rejects Food-For-Overtime-Compensation Theory

As both lawyers and non-lawyers understand, overtime wages customarily are paid in cash, notwithstanding that the definition of “wages” under the FLSA incorporates “board, lodging, or other facilities.” 29 U.S.C. § 203(m). Employers providing non-monetary benefits to employees sometimes argue that such benefits are “facilities” within the meaning of the statute and thus should be credited against … Continue Reading

Florida District Court Rejects “Willful” Allegation, Dismisses Misclassification Claim

In Florida, where state law only obligates employers to pay minimum wage (but not overtime) and FLSA litigation remains rampant, the FLSA limitations period is of particular importance in overtime disputes, particularly in regard to whether the limitations period is extended from two to three years based on a finding that the violation was “willful.” 29 … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: Magistrate Improperly Denied Serial Filing Plaintiff’s Attorney His Fees In FLSA Case

One oft-invoked disincentive to employers’ litigating FLSA claims (specifically non-class or collective claims) is the statute’s fee shifting provision: when a plaintiff prevails (however nominally), he is entitled to have his “reasonable” attorneys’ fees paid by the employer defendant (however the principle does not apply to a defense victory). In such cases, the individual plaintiff’s damages may … Continue Reading

Florida District Court Utilizes Half-Time Calculation In Determining FLSA Damages Owed To Misclassified Independent Contractor

As previously discussed in this blog, many (if not most) courts agree that an employee who receives a fixed salary for varying hours of work has a “clear mutual understanding” with his/her employer that such salary covers all hours of work, and that in the event overtime is deemed owed because the employee was not … Continue Reading

Appeals Court Rules Advice from Attorney Insufficient To Establish Good Faith Defense

Section 260 of the FLSA provides a defense to liquidated damages where an employer has acted in “good faith.” This test requires both subjective good faith (a belief the employer is proceeding lawfully) and objective reasonableness. A recent appellate decision addresses this second requirement. Mumby v. Pure Energy Servs. (USA), Inc., 2011 U.S. Appl. LEXIS 3460 (10th Cir. … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines Request to Consider Whether Half Time Calculation Is Appropriate Method To Calculate Overtime Due To Misclassified Employees

As previously discussed here and here, several Circuit courts have recently upheld use of the “half time” calculation of damages in FLSA misclassification cases. Urnikis-Negro v. Am. Family Prop. Servs., — F.3d. —, No. 08-3117, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 16126 (7th Cir. 2010); Desmond v. PNGI Charles Town Gaming, L.L.C., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 702 (4th Cir. Jan. … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Joins Four Prior Circuits in Ratifying Half Time Calculation of Overtime Damages Due Misclassified Exempt Employee

It is well understood that employees misclassified as exempt under the FLSA are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of forty in a week. However, while the United States Department of Labor takes the position that any unpaid overtime is calculated using the “half-time” method, not all of the Circuit Courts have confirmed … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Upholds Pro-Employer Method of Overtime Calculation for Misclassified Employees

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay non-exempt employees one and one half times their regular rate of pay for any hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40. United States Department of Labor regulations, as set forth in 29 C.F.R. § 778.114(a), allow an employer to utilize the fluctuating workweek (“FWW”) method … Continue Reading

Court Denies Claim For Alleged Unpaid Overtime Despite Employer’s Failure To Maintain Required Records

As discussed here, an employer’s maintenance of accurate records of hours worked by employees is not only a substantive requirement of the FLSA, but an essential component to defending against “off the clock” claims. But what happens if an employee brings such a claim and the employer has not maintained records? Is the employer defenseless? The … Continue Reading

The Price of Non-Compliance with the Fluctuating Workweek Method of Overtime Calculation

Under the FLSA (and most state laws), the fluctuating workweek method (FWW) of overtime payment allows employers to reduce overtime expense by paying “half time” for all overtime hours if the following four factors are satisfied: 1) employees’ hours fluctuate from week; (2) employees receive a fixed salary each week that does not vary with … Continue Reading

Federal Court in Michigan Applies Equitable Principles and Allows Offsets from Different Pay Periods

 The FLSA, as we know, is structured largely on a “workweek basis.” See, e.g. Bright v. Houston Northwest Medical Center Survivor, Inc., 934 F.2d 671, 678 (5th Cir. 1991). The standalone nature of each workweek can have draconian results for employers who overpay (intentionally or otherwise) in some workweeks, but underpay in others, as offsets generally only … Continue Reading
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