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New Jersey Federal Court Dismisses Truck Driver Misclassification Claims

Even as the New Jersey legislature contemplates amendments to the law (similar to those enacted in New York) limiting the classification of certain truck drivers as independent contractors, a New Jersey federal judge has granted an industry employer’s motion to dismiss claims that its drivers were misclassified as independent contractors.  Luxama v. Ironbound Express, Inc., … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Federal Court Finds Classification of Couriers as Employees or Independent Contractor To Be Question of Fact

In a short order following oral argument, Judge Juan R. Sanchez of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied an FLSA defendant’s motion for summary judgment seeking a ruling that it properly classified its delivery couriers as independent contractors under the FLSA.  Spellman, et al. v. American Eagle Express, Inc., E.D. Pa., No. 10-cv-1764. In so ruling without … Continue Reading

Intern Filings Seeking Alleged Unpaid Wages Continue

In the wake of the first substantive decisions issued as part of the growing trend of wage-and-hour claims being initiated by interns recently seeking alleged unpaid minimum wages and overtime, several more high profile filings have become public over the last few weeks, including most recently a claim against popular internet media conglomerate Gawker. Mark, et … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Reaffirms Prior Ruling Regarding Davis Bacon Contract Claims

In 2003, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (which encompasses New York) ruled that workers on projects covered by the federal Davis Bacon Act could not assert contract claims as alleged “third party beneficiaries” of Davis Bacon construction contracts, as permitting such claims would undermine Congress’ intent in electing not to … Continue Reading

Florida Court Rejects Joint Employer Allegation, Grants Summary Judgment to Bank In FLSA Suit

FLSA plaintiffs from time to time seek to include potential “deep pocket” defendants as alleged “joint employers,” claiming that the alleged joint employer’s control over the entity which employed them was sufficient such that FLSA liability should attach. Recently, another federal court joined the growing body of decisions rejecting such claims. Diaz v. U.S. Century Bank, 2013 … Continue Reading

Manhattan Judge Analyzes Appropriate Standard for Intern Determination, Denies Class Certification

In a significant victory for employers in the series of hotly contested cases regarding the status of interns, the Hearst Corporation successfully defeated class certification under the New York Labor Law. Xuedan Wang v. Hearst Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65869 (S.D.N.Y. May 8, 2013).  As important to wage/hour practitioners and employers as the Court’s ruling … Continue Reading

Wage-Hour Picture Study of the Week: The “Crunch ‘n Munch Guy”

Dedicated wage-and-hour practitioners, like many attorneys, will often find wage-and-hour issues to analyze in everyday life. Take, for example, this recent article regarding former Fenway Park fixture and local legend the “Crunch ‘n Munch” guy. The article, in addition to providing the back story behind his meteoric rise to local sports stardom (and drastically increased compensation), mentions … Continue Reading

New York Judge: Employee’s Sporadic Use of Credit Card Machine Insufficient to Establish Individual Coverage Under FLSA

When small and medium-sized businesses are sued under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a common litigation issue is whether or not the defendant-employer – or the plaintiff-employee – is covered under the Act, through either its broad “enterprise coverage” or “individual coverage” of the worker’s employment. Where enterprise coverage is not present, typically because the business … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Addresses Undocumented Workers Right to Unpaid Wages Under FLSA and Calculation of Overtime Owed to Salaried Workers

The Eleventh Circuit has found that an individual who is not authorized to work in the United States can recover alleged unpaid wages under the FLSA, rejecting an employer’s argument that Supreme Court’s decision in Quality Inn in Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, 535 U.S. 137 (2002), bars such claims. In so holding, the … Continue Reading

Texas Federal Court Agrees With Employer: Gate Attendants Are Independent Contractors Within the Meaning of FLSA

The Department of Labor often challenges an employer’s independent contractor classification, even when such classification is a matter of long-standing, industry practice.  Such disagreements can result in DOL audits or even DOL litigation seeking alleged unpaid minimum wage and overtime, as well as private enforcement actions. In a recent victory for employers involving litigation brought by … Continue Reading

Kansas Supreme Court: Exotic Dancers Employees, Not Independent Contractors

Among the types of service providers who consistently challenge their classification as independent contractors are exotic dancers, who allege that they are employees of the night club or clubs at which they perform. This allegation can give rise to a host of claims relating to wage-and-hour law, including minimum wage, overtime and gratuities-based claims, as well … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit: “Externs” Who Received Academic Credit Are Not Employees Under FLSA

As discussed in this space just last week, there is an ongoing war regarding compensation of interns under the FLSA. In a victory for employers, last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that individuals completing externships relating to their enrollment in MedVance Institute’s Medical Billing and Coding Specialist program were … Continue Reading

Federal Courts Finds Question of Fact as to “Employee” Status of Casino “Guides” and Related Issues

As we have detailed many times, the legal determination as to when an individual providing services is performing work which must be compensated under the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA is not always simple. This inquiry and related questions were at issue in Rui Xiang Huang v. J&A Entm’t Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. … Continue Reading

District Court Holds As A Matter of Law That Home Attendants Are Not Jointly Employed By New York City

Allegations of joint employment under the FLSA and other employment laws typically flow from control allegedly exercised by the purported “joint employer” over the primary employer and/or its employees. In a recent opinion rejecting such allegations, Magistrate Judge Joan Azrack of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted summary judgment … Continue Reading

Tenth Circuit: Security Guard Employee Was Separately A “Contractor” Janitor, No Need To Aggregate Hours Worked

From time to time, employees offer (or are offered an opportunity) to provide further services to their employer in a “freelance” or "contractor" capacity. However, given the control exercised by the employer in the course of the general employment relationship, these arrangements can result in allegations that the “hybrid” employee/contractor is in fact at all times … Continue Reading

New York Federal Court Holds Former Student Turned “Volunteer” Was Just That, Not Employee Under The FLSA

This blog has explained that the Fair Labor Standards Act does not expressly authorize unpaid interns, and the viability of unpaid internships is generally assessed through the FLSA’s definition of an unpaid “trainee.” Application of this trainee test to various interns and volunteers is often murky and inconsistent. In a new decision deftly navigating this difficult analysis, … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Bloggers’ Compensation Suit

Following appeal of a New York trial court decision issued last spring, the Second Circuit has rejected three Huffington Post (the “Post”) bloggers’ claims to recover $105 million allegedly owed to them and the Post’s other bloggers under theories of unjust enrichment and deceptive business practices. Tasini, et al. v. AOL, Inc., et al., 2d Cir., … Continue Reading

Volunteer Firefighter Not “Employee” Under the FLSA

As litigation over the alleged “employee” status of unpaid interns continues, employers and courts continue to analyze whether other service providers are “employees” under the FLSA who must receive minimum wage and overtime for hours in excess of 40.  Consistent with the Sixth Circuit’s employer-friendly ruling on a similar issue, the Court of Appeals for … Continue Reading

California Judge Finds Financial Advisors Were Independent Contractors Under California Law

Financial services and insurance industry employers regularly classify service providers, including financial advisors and independent insurance agents, as independent contractors, especially if such individuals cultivate and service their own clientele with a high degree of autonomy. Despite that autonomy, knowledgeable industry professionals and their counsel are aware of the legal risks associated with the independent contractor … Continue Reading

Long Island Judge Finds Company Properly Classified Its Drivers As Independent Contractors Under FLSA and State Law

Whether a business can properly classify an individual as an independent contractor excluded from FLSA coverage is a question governed by the “economic realities” of the relationship between the individual and the business for whom she or he performed services. Under New York State Law, a related but distinct test examines the “degree of control exercised … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Confirms: DHL Not Joint Employer of Contractors’ Couriers

In the latest judicial analysis of wage-and-hour plaintiffs’ ongoing quest to hold larger entities liable as “joint employers” of a vendor’s employees, the Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit has affirmed DHL Express’ victory in an Alabama federal court on this issue. Layton v. DHL Express United States, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 13978 (11th Cir. … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Court: Corporate Parent Not “Joint Employer” of Subsidiaries’ Assistant Managers

Plaintiffs in FLSA litigation often file suit against additional entities and parties beyond their primary or W-2 employer. One common allegation is that the corporate parent of an employing subsidiary is a “joint employer.” This can impact not only which entities are liable for any FLSA violation (where a joint employer relationship is found), but also the … Continue Reading

Reminder: The Perils of Interns

Since the Fair Labor Standards Act contains no provision contemplating the concept of the unpaid intern, employers often find themselves defending their decision to classify someone who provides services to the company as being outside the protections afforded “employees” under the statute. Such a defense can be challenging, although one vocational school in Tennessee succeeded in … Continue Reading
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