The Department of Labor recently published an Opinion Letter (FLSA-2018-27) reissuing its January 16, 2009 guidance (Opinion Letter FLSA-2009-23) and reversing its Obama-era position on the 20% tip credit rule.  This opinion letter marks another major shift in DOL’s policy and presents a welcome change for employers in the restaurant industry.


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In a new class action filed recently against a hospital housekeeping company, employees allege their employer’s fingerprint scanning time-tracking system runs afoul of privacy laws.  The Pennsylvania-based company Xanitos Inc. now faces the lawsuit in federal court in Illinois, claiming the company violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. 
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The combination of a quirky procedural posture and broad language used by the Supreme Court in 1941 have left Home Depot trapped in a North Carolina state court defending against a class action, despite the removal provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act.  On September 27, 2018, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether CAFA authorizes removal of class action counterclaims when its requirements are otherwise met.
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The United States Supreme Court held this past Term in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that class action waivers in arbitration agreements do not violate the National Labor Relations Act.  In the wake of Epic Systems, courts have found that class action waivers are likewise permissible under the FLSA.  These cases make clear that class action waivers are here to stay.
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As we wrote about last month, on May 21, 2018, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S. Ct. 1632 (2018), rejecting perhaps the largest remaining obstacles to the enforcement of class action waivers in arbitration agreements in the employment context.  The Court concluded that the class action waivers did not violate the National Labor Relations Act.  Although the Court’s opinion also seemed dispositive of whether such agreements could be avoided under the Fair Labor Standards Act, at least one claimant tried to continue to litigate the issue, which was disposed of last week in Gaffers v. Kelly Servs., Inc., No. 16-2210 (6th Cir. 2018).  And now the Sixth Circuit has addressed whether Epic Systems would apply to arbitration agreements with putative independent contractors who contended that they should have been treated as employees.
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On May 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, holding that the National Labor Relations Act does not prohibit the use of arbitration agreements with class/collective action waivers covered by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”).   The Sixth Circuit has now concluded in Gaffers v. Kelly Services, Inc.  that the Fair Labor Standards Act, like the NLRA, does not bar the use of arbitration agreements with class/collective action waivers.
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The National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) has taken the first step to potentially reshape labor law since the May 21, 2018 Epic Systems case, in which the Supreme Court held that class waivers in arbitration agreements do not violate the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”).
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The California Supreme Court has ruled that California employers cannot rely on the federal de minimis doctrine to avoid claims for unpaid wages on small amounts of time.   Under the de minimis doctrine, employers may be excused from paying workers for small amounts of otherwise compensable time if the work is irregular and administratively difficult to record.  Federal Courts have frequently found that daily periods of approximately 10 minutes are de minimis even though otherwise compensable.
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