Last week, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Michigan granted Domino’s Pizza, Inc.’s motion to dismiss, holding that workers operating under the Domino’s brand must arbitrate their claims that the pizza chain made its franchises promise not to hire each other’s employees, then misled the public to believe no such agreement existed.
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Recently, a California Appellate Court held that underwriters at Lloyd’s of London must defend the owner/operator of hundreds of Pizza Hut and Wing Street restaurants in a putative employee class action accusing the company of labor law violations, finding that an employment practices liability insurance policy’s “wage and hour” exclusion must be construed narrowly to bar coverage only for claims related to “laws concerning duration worked and/or remuneration received in exchange for work.” In doing so, the court made clear that “wage and hour” exclusions do not preclude coverage for claims that go beyond the employee’s actual remuneration received in exchange for work.


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Earlier today, the United States Department of Labor announced a long-awaited final rule to take effect on January 1, 2020 updating the earnings threshold to $35,568 necessary for employees to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemptions.   The DOL estimates that 1.2 million additional workers will be entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay as a result of this increase in the salary basis.
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Earlier this year, a federal court in Illinois decertified a small class of Physicians who alleged gender-based pay discrimination under the Equal Pay Act.  Although not a groundbreaking appellate court decision, the opinion does provide a roadmap for employers facing EPA collective actions, which may gain traction in the wake of increasing media attention on pay disparities.
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Paid Family and Medical Leave, or PFML, is fast approaching and Massachusetts employers need to begin preparing for the upcoming July 1, 2019 effective date. Not only do employers need to understand their obligations, but there are affirmative actions they must take now – which is well in advance of the January 1, 2021 commencement of the benefits taking effect.
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Massachusetts’ highest court, The Supreme Judicial Court, recently issued its long awaited decision in Sullivan v. Sleepy’s LLC, SJC-12542, in which the SJC responded to certified questions of first impression from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The case is particularly important for businesses which pay employees through commissions or draws (i.e., advances on commissions), particularly in the retail context where the ruling departs considerably from federal law.
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