Posts tagged as:

wage and hour suits

“French officials have fined a pub in Brittany €9,000 for “undeclared labour” after a customer returned some empty glasses to the bar. For customers at the Mamm-Kounifl concert-café in Locmiquélic, carrying drinks trays and used glasses back to the bar was a polite tradition.” [Independent]

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Why would an employer adopt a rule forbidding employees from using company email after hours or on weekends? Simple enough: lawyers have been busily organizing class actions alleging that employees are owed millions for overtime spent on such tasks. And it doesn’t matter whether the employee wants to do his or her job that way or is responding to an emergency customer request: the legal entitlement to sue isn’t ordinarily waivable by consent. Hence “email curfews.” [Brianne Pfannenstiel, Kansas City Business Journal via Jon Hyman]

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“Even though they received back-pay, they are now suing the government….Their attorney said that late payment violates the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act and they’re now owed damages – adding up to hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars per worker.” [Mike Conneen, WJLA]

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  • Reminder: Second Amendment rights run against the government, not against your employer or other private parties [Eugene Volokh]
  • Invasion of privacy? Employees continue to win awards and settlements by way of surreptitious recording devices in workplace [Jon Hyman]
  • Gov. Brown signs bill creating overtime entitlement for California nannies, private health aides [Reuters, L.A. Times]
  • Does rolling back a benefit under a public employee pension plan violate the Contracts Clause? [Alexander Volokh, Reason Foundation]
  • Even as anti-bullying programs backfire, some propose extending them to workplace [Hans Bader, CEI, earlier]
  • Background on Harris v. Quinn, SCOTUS case on herding family home carers into union fee arrangements [Illinois Review, earlier]
  • “California unions target business-friendly Dems” [Steve Malanga]

“A class action lawsuit has been launched by a small group of Yelp reviewers, trying to make the (laughable and ridiculous) case that reviewers on the site are actually unpaid employees who are now demanding compensation. It appears that they’re hoping the recent success of a few lawsuits involving ‘unpaid internships’ will now carry over to user-generated content sites as well. To put it mildly, this is incredibly stupid.” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]

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Caleb Brown interviews me for a Cato podcast on the Administration’s new home-companion overtime rules, which could drive many elderly and disabled persons into nursing homes. Earlier here and here.

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Had you heard that disabled-rights activists have staged demonstrations in Washington, D.C. to protest a new Obama administration initiative? Not only that, but the disabled-rights activists are right.

At issue is an awful scheme by the Obama Labor Department, newly headed by Secretary Thomas Perez, to abolish most of the “companionship exemption” to federal wage and hour laws, which has up to now reasonably recognized that serving as a live-in or semi-live-in paid attendant to a sick, elderly or disabled person is not really the same sort of thing as working twelve-hour days on a factory assembly line. I’ve got a new post at Cato at Liberty looking at some of the consequences we can expect from making it far more expensive to provide a kind of round-the-clock care that often keeps people out of nursing homes. More: Bloomberg.

Some background on the controversy, beyond the links in the Cato post: National Council on Disability (a federal disability-advocacy agency that was not entirely prepared to toe the line in favor of the new regs); Stephen Miller, Society for Human Resource Management; Kaiser Health News; Disability Law (“disability rights groups… fear that substantially raising the cost of personal assistance services without increasing Medicaid reimbursements will force people with disabilities into nursing homes”); PHI and Direct Care Alliance (promoting regs); National Association for Home Care and Hospice and more (commercial group opposed); ADAPT (disability rights group opposed).

More reactions: Bill McMorris/Free Beacon, Jon Hyman, Trey Kovacs/Workplace Choice.

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Insist that class counsel’s attorneys’ fees be handled separately from the negotiation of relief to the class — and then don’t roll over for those fees the way defendants usually do. “They [Starbucks' lawyers] contend that the $4.2 million request is ‘breathtakingly inflated,’ considering that class counsel managed to win certification of only one of 13 alleged subclasses [in a West Coast wage-hour class action].” [Alison Frankel, Reuters]

Labor and employment roundup

by Walter Olson on September 13, 2013

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“In a federal lawsuit filed Aug. 29, Christopher Hranek contends Morgan & Morgan – one of the most active Florida law firms in filing wage and hour cases – misclassified him as a salaried employee when he was instead working as an hourly employee.” Morgan & Morgan, whose advertising slogan is “For the People,” said it does not owe Hranek overtime and expects to show documentation that it was in compliance with labor law. [Jane Meinhardt, Tampa Bay Business Journal]

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  • “Is the main effect of the minimum wage on job growth?” [Tyler Cowen] Minimum wage is transitional wage; most workers who receive it will earn higher rate in the next year if they stay employed [same] “Obama’s Bogus Case for a ‘Decent Wage’”[Ira Stoll]
  • “Equipment manufacturer sues EEOC over email survey trolling for potential class members” [Jessica Karmasek, LNL]
  • Don’t mess with SEIU? “Service Employees Suit Assesses Harsh Penalties against Breakaway Reformers” [Steve Early, Labor Notes]
  • NLRB is fully staffed now, so watch out employers [Rod Kackley, Crain's Detroit Business]
  • Major League Baseball latest to face suit over unpaid volunteer workers [ABA Journal]
  • Dent in lawyers’ business plan? Judge doesn’t think Michigan meatpacking workers’ $1,000 don/doff claim is adequate basis for $140,000 legal fee award [Free Press]
  • Workplace vagrants: many employees quit jobs regularly as garnishment catches up to them [Coyote]
  • “What’s Wrong with Domestic Workers’ ‘Bill(s) of Rights’” [Wendy McElroy, The Freeman; earlier here, etc.]
  • More on the implications of supervisory-harassment case Vance v. Ball State [Kay Steiger, The Atlantic, and thanks for mention; earlier here and here]
  • N.J. doesn’t allow workers under 18 near construction sites: “Labor law limits volunteer help for Sandy relief” [Asbury Park Press]
  • Charlotte Garden (Seattle U.) on non-labor litigation by unions [Workplace Prof; a 1999 Ohio case]
  • So classically L.A. Times: in wildly slanted article, reporter Alana Semuels quotes seven lawyers/lawprofs attacking workplace arbitration contracts, none in defense;
  • One unintended consequence of limiting unpaid internships: boosting value of pre-existing social connections [David Henderson]
  • “High Court to review sweetheart deals between unions, management” [Sean Higgins, DC Examiner on Supreme Court case of UNITE HERE v. Mulhall]
  • EEOC guidance lost big in last week’s SCOTUS employment decisions [Daniel Fisher, Michael Greve]
  • Classification of obesity as a “disease” has huge employment law implications [Jon Hyman]
  • EEOC goes after BMW, Dollar General over criminal background checks on job candidates [ABA Journal, Althouse, Michael Carvin and Eric Dreiband ("The Government Checks Criminal Records. Why Can't Private Employers?"), Employer's Lawyer, earlier] “So the gov’t convicts minorities at a disproportionate rate. Then the gov’t sues companies that checks those records, smart.” [Surya Gunasekara] Why not ban Google too? (Don’t give them ideas, please) [ Mike Riggs]
  • Wage and hour suits soar, record number filed so far in 2013 [Corp Counsel, Overtime Lawyer, I-Sight] Related: what’s wrong with the epithet “wage theft” [Hyman]
  • Employer’s claim: I can’t get due process from Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities [Daniel Schwartz]
  • The First Amendment protects our speech rights against the government, not against those we deal with in the workplace who may disapprove [Schwartz and more on Connecticut employment proposal] NLRB “attempting to sanction a California newspaper despite a federal appeals court’s decision that such a ruling threatened the publisher’s First Amendment rights.” [Washington Free Beacon]
  • “Bergen, Passaic County towns saddled with costs as lawsuits filed by police add up” [Bergen Record via NJLRA]

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An innovative clothing consignment business travels from location to location using consigning parents as volunteers — but now the Department of Labor says the parents need to be treated as employees. [Rhea Lana Riner, USA Today]

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“Paying to Learn Nothing = Legal; Paying Nothing to Learn = Illegal” [Andrew Coulson, Cato, contrasting internship ruling with the general lack of a legal or political remedy against educational institutions should you "go into serious debt [but] learn nothing of value”; more on the absence of “educational malpractice” relief; earlier here, etc.]

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AP:

Unpaid internships have long been a path of opportunity for students and recent grads looking to get a foot in the door in the entertainment, publishing and other prominent industries, even if it takes a generous subsidy from Mom and Dad.

But those days of working for free could be numbered after a federal judge in New York ruled this week that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage and overtime laws by not paying interns who worked on production of the 2010 movie “Black Swan.”

More: Dylan Matthews, Washington Post, and earlier here, here, etc.

P.S. “There will still be one place to still get unpaid internships — Congress, since they exempt themselves from these laws.” [Coyote]

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  • NLRB comes to grief again in D.C. Circuit, this time on posting rule [Fox, Adler]
  • Departing executive director of D.C. labor board: higher-ups pressed for discrimination against conservatives, whites [Hans von Spakovsky, Examiner]
  • “Dollar General: Discovery request would give client list to plaintiffs lawyers” [West Virginia Record]
  • Dems do themselves little credit by blocking legalization of flextime [Ramesh Ponnuru, Washington Times]
  • “Government Crowded Out: How Employee Compensation Costs Are Reshaping State and Local Government” [Daniel DiSalvo, Manhattan Institute]
  • Thanks to California Supreme Court, SEIU can tell dissenters we know where you live [DC Examiner, Legal NewsLine] Recalling a furor over member privacy and databases at another large union, UNITE HERE [Labor Union Report, "pink sheeting"]
  • “The fact that it took forced austerity measures for Greece to fire even *corrupt* public servants speaks volumes.” [Christian Science Monitor via @radleybalko]

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