shadow-dollar-sign-1239535I enjoy those cases where those (sometimes uppity) government agencies get a taste of their own medicine. I previously told you about the EEOC being sued for failing to accommodate its own employee’s disability, for example. Here’s another one – the U.S. Department of Labor, which is the federal agency that enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including its overtime provisions, just agreed to pay $7 MILLION to settle a claim that it failed to pay overtime to its own employees!!!
Continue Reading

FLSA Poster image

The Department of Labor has issued revised versions of its “Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act – Federal Minimum Wage” and “Employee Rights – Employee Polygraph Protection Act” posters, which all covered employers are required to post. Employers must post the revised versions as of August 1, 2016.
Continue Reading

dollar_sign_imageOn May 17, 2016, the Department of Labor announced the release of its long-awaited revisions to its overtime exemption rule. The new rule doubles the salary requirement for white collar (executive, administrative and professional) employees from $23,660 per year ($455 per week) to $47,476 per year ($913 per week).  The required minimum salary for the highly compensated employees’ exemption also has been raised from $100,000 to $134,004. These salary levels will be subject to automatic adjustments every three years. The new rule does not change the duties test for any of the exemptions. It will take effect on December 1, 2016. Our firm will be holding a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, May 25 to discuss the changes and offer practical suggestions on how to comply with the new rules.
Continue Reading

As you may know, I enjoy the cases where the tables are turned – like my colleague Jason Usher’s post on “Union Violates Employee’s Labor Rights” or my blog on “EEOC Sued For Failing to Accommodate Employee’s Disability.” Here’s another.

From time to time, my clients have had to deal with lying employees. They lie in an investigation, they lie to the federal agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Department of Labor, they lie in depositions and at trial. And they’re good at it – it’s often hard to prove that they are lying, which is incredibly frustrating to my clients and to m
Continue Reading

The Maryland 2016 legislative session endedshadow-dollar-sign-1239535 on Monday.  A friend of mine mentioned that she heard the General Assembly passed an equal pay law in Maryland. But guess what? There is already an Equal Pay for Equal Work law in Maryland – it’s been in place for almost 25 years!! The current law already prohibits employers from discriminating against employees of one sex who work in the “same establishment” and perform work of comparable character or work in the same operation, in the same business, or of the same type by paying a lesser wage than an employee of another sex.

The equal pay bill mentioned, House Bill 1003, expands the prohibitions on discriminatory pay practices. It also adds an entirely new pay transparency provision. Specifically:
Continue Reading

With the imminent blizzard of 2016, employers are thinking about work coverage issues. This is of particular concern for those employers who function on a 24-hour basis, like healthcare entities. In order to ensure coverage during perilous travel conditions, some employees may agree to (or even be required to) stay overnight. Obviously, any hours actually spent working must be paid, but they are likely not working during all of that time onsite. In fact, some of that time may be sleep time. What are the rules on pay under those circumstances? going%20to%20bed%20at%20night

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides that if an employee works for more than 24 hours, up to 8 hours of sleep time may be deducted pursuant to an agreement between the employer and employee.  The FLSA does not define what is such an “agreement.”  However, various courts have done so, and these courts have found that if an employer publishes a policy that explains the sleep time deduction and if employees continue to work for the employer, this constitutes an agreement for the deduction.  In at-will employment states, any employee who chooses not to agree to any company policy, including one like this, can certainly choose not to work for the company.  Conversely, the company can choose to terminate any employee who chooses not to agree to any of its policies.  That is what at-will employment entails.  If the company does not have a published policy on this issue, it will not be able to deduct for the sleep time.
Continue Reading

Most employers are aware that violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act can result in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, leading to back pay damages, as well as possible liquidated damages in an amount equal to back pay, and even civil penalties up to $1000 for each willful or repeated violation. prison-silhouetteState departments of labor may also conduct such investigations for violations of state wage and hour laws, which can result in similar monetary consequences. Employees may also bring a lawsuit against their employer in federal or state court.  But what many employers don’t know is that they could even end up in jail!

Under the FLSA, willful violations can result in criminal prosecution, with a second conviction resulting in imprisonment! State laws can be even more aggressive, as a Papa John’s franchisee recently learned to his dismay.


Continue Reading

As the Wall Street Journal reported this week, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) highly anticipated rules regarding employees’ eligibility for overtime are not likely to be finalized until sometime in mid to late 2016. This timeline, which is later than the Spring-time anticipated date, was acknowledged by the Department of Labor (DOL) Solicitor, Patricia Smith, during the American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section Conference two weeks ago. I attended the panel at which Solicitor Smith spoke, and counsel for both management and employees were surprised by this revelation.

portraitAs my firm previously reported, in June 2015, the DOL proposed revisions to the overtime rules. The proposed rules significantly increased the required salary for employees to qualify as exempt. The current salary threshold is $23,660. The proposed rules more than double it to $50,400! Clearly, this is a significant increase and would make many more employees eligible for overtime pay.

Solicitor Smith said the reason for the delay in the issuance of the final rules is the significant number of comments that were received by the DOL, which are in excess of 200,000!  This is three times more than the number of comments received by the DOL when it revised the regulations back in 2004.


Continue Reading

There’s a part of me that thoroughly enjoys a smackdown between government agencies. (The other part of me is screaming at the government inefficiency and waste of my tax dollars). Here’s a good one.

As most of you know, the U.S. Department of Labor released its proposed revisions to the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The current regulations set forth three tests for exempt status: (1) the employee must be paid on a salary basis; (2) the salary threshold must be at least $455 per week ($23,660 per year); and (3) the employee must meet duties tests specific to the exemption in questions (executive, administrative or professional). As we discussed (with a highly raised eyebrow) in a previous blog, the proposed regulations contain only one actual change to these tests – an increase in the salary level to over $50,000 per year, with yearly increases thereafter.

The public was invited to submit comments on the proposed regulations – 289,932 individuals and entities took them up on that invitation. One of those was the Small Business Administration – another federal agency. The SBA has an Office of Advocacy, which represents the interests of small businesses before Congress and other federal agencies.


Continue Reading