While COVID-19 may have hit the business community like a hurricane, whether the pandemic, in fact, qualifies for a natural disaster exception under the federal law requiring businesses to warn employees of impending layoffs, remains an open question. This February, a federal judge paved the way for the Eleventh Circuit to weigh in on whether a class action can proceed against an employer who was forced to lay off employees due to COVID-19.
Continue Reading The Eleventh Circuit Could Tackle Whether COVID-19 is a Disaster for WARN Purposes with Companies Facing Continued Layoffs

For over 30 years, most district courts throughout the country have used a two-step conditional certification process to govern certification of collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  But in its recent and game-changing opinion, the Fifth Circuit rejected that two-step process and laid out a stricter framework for FLSA collective actions. 
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Rejects Two-Step FLSA Certification Process

Earlier this month, the EEOC launched EEOC Explore, “an interactive data query and mapping tool” that gives users access to aggregate data on more than 73,000 employers and 56 million employees across the United States.  According to the agency, EEOC Explore “enables stakeholders to explore and compare data trends across a number of categories, including location, sex, race and ethnicity, and industry sector without the need for experience in computer programming or statistical analysis.”
Continue Reading “EEOC Explore” Tool Launched to Provide Greater Transparency and Access to Diversity Data – Employers Beware Overreaching and Generalizations

California is well known for its broad restrictions relating to non-competition clauses applicable to workers. After a recent decision by the Federal Circuit, such notoriety may extend to the patent realm. Employers should beware to not fall into this employment agreement trap.
Continue Reading Employment Law and Patent Law Collide: Federal Circuit Rules that California’s Non-Compete Restrictions Also Limit the Scope of Patent and Invention Assignment Clauses

An Alabama federal judge granted AutoZone’s request to dismiss nearly 500 current and former store managers from a nationwide collective action that the national auto-parts chain had misclassified them as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act
and denied them overtime, holding those plaintiffs had missed the three-year statute of limitations and that plaintiffs had failed to establish equitable tolling should apply to save their claims.
Continue Reading The Doctrine of Equitable Tolling Won’t Save Hundreds of Store Managers from Dismissal in AutoZone’s Nationwide Overtime Suit

On September 10, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a Memorandum and Order granting summary judgment in favor of a franchisor in response to claims by a purported class of franchisees that they were not truly independent contractors, but employees of the franchisor. The main issue addressed in the case was whether specific federal legal requirements that are imposed upon franchisors trump the general Massachusetts independent contractor classification statute.
Continue Reading Massachusetts District Court Rejects Employee Classification for Franchisees

This month, the Southern District of Florida declined to certify a nationwide class of Denny’s servers alleging the restaurant chain had violated the minimum wage and tip credit provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act on the basis that the named plaintiff failed to provide enough evidence that the servers were similarly situated.
Continue Reading Proposed Nationwide Class of Denny’s Restaurant Servers Denied Certification in FLSA Action

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently clarified that a named plaintiff gives up his or her right to represent a class if, in an individual settlement, he or she does not carve out from the settlement a concrete financial interest in the putative class action. 
Continue Reading Can Voluntary Individual Settlements Moot Class Actions? Yes, Depending on the Facts, According to the Ninth Circuit

On May 19, 2020, the US Department of Labor issued its final rule likely expanding the FLSA’s Section 7(i) overtime exemption for commission-based workers in retail and service industries by withdrawing the long-standing, historical list of businesses that the DOL identified as falling within or outside of what it deemed to be a retail or service establishment.
Continue Reading The DOL’s New Rule Removes Presumption Against Overtime Exemption for Possible Retail and Service Establishments, Broadening Availability to Employers