In a rare win for plaintiffs seeking to avoid arbitration, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a trucking company’s attempt to compel arbitration in a driver’s proposed minimum wage class action. The Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act’s exemption for interstate transportation workers applies not only to employees, but also to those classified as independent contractors.
As the new year gets off to a start, employers in the retail industry will be making wage adjustments to meet current and future minimum wage increases. Employees in 21 states around the country will see their state’s minimum wage increase.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is a popular venue for class action lawsuits. As of November 1, 2018, it is also the first to require parties settling such lawsuits to make broad public disclosures regarding the settlements.
The Supreme Court recently approved substantial changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including amendments to Rule 23, which covers federal class actions. The amendments to Rule 23 seek to modernize and standardize the notice, settlement, objection, and appeal procedures. If Congress approves the amendments, they will become effective December 1, 2018. Continue Reading Proposed Changes to Class Action Rules Covering Notice, Settlements, Objections, and Appeals Awaiting Approval of Congress
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.
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”).
During a week that brought several notable decisions, the National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling on Friday, December 15, 2017, overturning its controversial 2011 Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB 934 (2011) (“Specialty Healthcare”) decision, which held that in order for employees to be included in a collective bargaining unit, employers had to prove the employees shared an “overwhelming community of interest” with one another. The unions argued that the “overwhelming community of interest” burden was all but impossible to meet and effectively allowed unions to create “micro-units” of any number, group, or sub-group of employees the unions saw fit. This in turn meant that an employer could be faced with negotiating collective bargaining agreements with multiple groups of employees who often shared the same schedule, workplace, and general terms and conditions of employment, but nonetheless were represented by different locals or divisions of the same or multiple unions. In one particularly glaring example, the Board approved a union’s request for separate bargaining units in each of nine different graduate student departments at Yale University despite the fact that the union already represented existing, university-wide bargaining units.
The National Labor Relations Board issued a much-anticipated decision on Thursday, overruling its controversial 2015 Browning-Ferris decision that unions and employees argued drastically expanded the definition and scope of the Board’s joint-employer doctrine. In Browning-Ferris, the Board departed from decades of precedent and held that entities who merely possessed—as opposed to directly and immediately exercised—control over workers would be deemed joint employers for purposes of assessing liability under the National Labor Relations Act. The Board used the Browning-Ferris decision to expand its reach under the joint-employer doctrine to include, for example, companies that relied on staffing agencies and in some cases, parent companies that did not exercise immediate or direct control over a subsidiary’s workers, but had the potential authority to affect certain terms and conditions of employment. The Browning-Ferris decision faced heavy criticism from employers as well as an appeal of the decision itself to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
On November 15, the EEOC issued its 2017 annual Performance and Accountability Report, providing details and statistics regarding the Commission’s performance and goals during the period of October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017.
On August 31, 2017, a federal district court judge in Texas struck down the Department of Labor’s Obama-era controversial 2016 rule that raised the minimum salary threshold required to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemption. Under the proposed regulations, the minimum salary threshold was raised to just over $47,000 per year, and increased the overtime eligibility threshold for highly compensated workers from $100,000 to about $134,000.