As promised, today we give you and third and final installment of our three-part series addressing the new opinion letters issued by the U.S. Department of Labor on July 1, 2019.  To read about the other letters issued by the DOL, check out this blog post and this blog post.  The final opinion letter, FLSA2019-9, addresses permissible rounding practices for calculating the number of hours worked by an employee.
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In our last blog post, we revealed a three-part series intended to address the new opinion letters issued by the U.S. Department of Labor on July 1, 2019.  The second of these opinion letters, FLSA2019-8, addresses whether paralegals employed by a trade organization are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements under Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA – an issue of admittedly more limited interest, except as to employers of such individuals.
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On July 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor issued three new opinion letters that address compliance issues related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  These letters are official, written opinions by the Department’s Wage and Hour Division that respond to fact-specific scenarios posed by employers and employees alike.  We are going to address each of the opinion letters in separate blog posts over the course of the next week.  But for now, let’s dive into the first of the three opinion letters!
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$3.8 million dollars. That’s what a Tucson, Arizona jury awarded to a former fire paramedic denied workplace accommodations required under the Fair Labor Standards Act for women who want to pump breast milk for their infants. Under the law, for the first year after the birth of a child, employers must provide non-exempt employees with reasonable breaks to pump. Employers also must provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from the view of others and that is free from intrusion by coworkers or others.
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The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay overtime to non-exempt employees for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek, calculated at one and one-half times their regular rate of pay. The Department of Labor has issued a proposed rule that revises the requirements regarding the regular rate of pay in order to better reflect the modern workplace.
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In the latest development in the long saga involving the overtime rule, the Department of Labor has now issued its long-awaited proposed revision to the regulations governing which employees are exempt from the requirement to pay overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

The Current Rule: The current overtime rule, which took

Maryland lawmakers have introduced a bill that would increase the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2023. Notably, the State’s minimum wage is currently $10.10 per hour, which is significantly greater than the federal minimum of $7.25. Many progressive leaders and newly elected legislators do not think Maryland’s current minimum wage is high enough, and as a result, there has been an increased push to pass the proposed legislation. If enacted, Maryland would join the notoriously employer-unfriendly jurisdictions like California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. If the experience in those States is a guide, the increased minimum wage would increase the cost of doing business in Maryland, create incentives to deploy technology to reduce labor costs, harm workers who are least skilled (by making them less attractive “at the price” vis-à-vis more skill peers), and create severe obstacles for businesses operating within the State. 
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So after a hiatus of many years, the Department of Labor has once again begun issuing opinion letters, which are responses to a particular employer’s situation that offer guidance to all employers on specific issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This is quite exciting for employment law nerds like me – and one of these letters highlighted an interesting interaction between the FLSA and disability laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act and analogous state laws. (OK, I know that you’re on the edge of your seat now…)
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New York City is often on the fringe.  From its fashion to its tall buildings to its restaurants, the Big Apple likes to be cutting edge.  Even when it comes to its laws.  Really, who can forget the controversial proposed ban on “big” sugary sodas?  Fortunately, that specific attempt to regulate personal choice was ultimately stopped in its tracks. 
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