After the Eleventh Circuit’s holding in Asalde v. First Class Parking Systems LLC 894 F.3d 1248 (11th Cir. 2018), more small employers may be subject to the requirements of the FLSA.  By expanding the “handling clause,” the case chips away at the degree of interstate commerce necessary for the FLSA to apply.

Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Expands the FLSA’s Handling Clause

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.

In Troester v. Starbucks Corporation, the California Supreme Court held that California wage and hour laws have not adopted the FLSA’s de minimis doctrine.  As a result, Starbucks was not permitted to avoid paying an employee who regularly spent several minutes per shift working off-the-clock.  The Supreme Court acknowledged, however, that there may be circumstances involving “employee activities that are so irregular or brief in duration that it would not be reasonable to require employers to compensate employees for the time spent on them.”

Continue Reading FLSA De Minimis Defense Does Not Apply to California Wage Claims

In AHMC Healthcare, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. B285655 (June 25, 2018) (“AHMC Healthcare”), California’s Second District Court of Appeals upheld an employer’s use of a payroll system that automatically rounds employee time up or down to the nearest quarter hour.  Although the California Supreme Court has not yet addressed this issue, AHMC Healthcare aligns with decisions from the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, many federal district courts, and California’s Fourth District Court of Appeals, which also upheld time-rounding practices.

Continue Reading Time-Rounding Systems Endorsed by California Court Despite Net Loss to Named Plaintiffs

The Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2), confers federal subject matter removal jurisdiction over purported class actions filed in state court when, among other things, there is an amount-in-controversry (“AIC”) exceeding $5,000,000.  Deciding whether a class action can be properly removed under CAFA typically turns on whether this high jurisdictional threshold can be met.

Continue Reading Class Action Fairness Act: Determining the “Amount in Controversy” in California

Andrea Mickles filed a complaint against her employer Country Club Inc., alleging it had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by improperly classifying her and other employees as independent contractors and failing to pay them minimum wage and overtime.  She filed her case as a collective action, and others opted into the case before any ruling on conditional certification.  Those opt-ins eventually provided the Eleventh Circuit with an opportunity to address an issue of first impression in any Circuit: What is the status of individuals who opt into a case that is never conditionally certified? Continue Reading Who’s Invited to the Party?: The Status of Collective Action Opt-Ins

In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco Cty., 137 S. Ct. 1773 (June 17, 2017), the U.S. Supreme Court established limitations on personal jurisdiction over non-resident defendants in “mass actions,” a litigation strategy often utilized by plaintiffs’ class action attorneys to sue corporations in plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions that have little to no connection with the underlying dispute.  The Supreme Court determined that the requisite connection between the corporate defendant and the litigation forum must be based on more than a combination of the company’s connections with the state and the similarity of the claims of the resident plaintiffs and the non-resident claimants.  The ruling directed the dismissal of 592 non-California claims from 33 other states.  As a result, the ruling supports the view that plaintiffs cannot simply “forum shop” in large class and collective actions and instead must sue where the corporate defendant has significant contacts for purposes of general jurisdiction or limit the class definition to residents of the state where the lawsuit is filed.

Continue Reading A New Tool For Preventing Forum Shopping in FLSA Collective Actions

New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act will go into effect on October 29, 2018, making it the tenth state plus Washington DC and dozens of localities to mandate paid sick leave.

New Jersey’s Act requires employers of all sizes to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid leave per 12-month period.  Key aspects of the new law include: Continue Reading New Jersey Requires Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave

When a franchisor provides a California franchisee with detailed instructions about how to operate the franchise business, but allows the franchisee to manage its own workforce, can the franchisor be held liable for the franchisee’s wage and hour violations?  The California Court of Appeals found the answer to be no under the facts in Curry v. Equilon Enterprises, LLC, 2018 WL 1959472 (Cal. Ct. App. Apr. 26, 2018).  There, the Court of Appeals concluded Equilon Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Shell Oil Products US (“Shell”), was not liable for the alleged wage and hour violations of the company that operated its Shell-branded gas stations throughout California. Continue Reading Are Franchisors Joint Employers in California Wage Cases?

A single paragraph in an otherwise routine opinion could have reverberations in FLSA exemption cases for years to come.

Earlier this week, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held in Encino Motorcars LLC v. Navarro et al. that auto service advisors are exempt under the FLSA’s overtime pay requirement.  While the case resolved a circuit split for a discrete exemption, the Court’s decision has broad implications for all employers.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Rejects Notion That FLSA Exemptions Should Be “Narrowly Construed”

The practice of “tip-pooling,” which refers to the sharing of tips between “front-of-house” staff (servers, waiters, bartenders) and “back-of-house” staff (chefs and dishwashers), has been in the news recently as the Trump Department of Labor (“DOL”) seeks to roll back a 2011 Obama-era rule limiting the practice under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

Continue Reading DOL Expresses Interest in Banning “Tip-Skimming”