Exempt/Non-Exempt Status

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

As we previously reported, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a proposed rule expected to significantly increase the number of employees who are eligible for overtime. Most notably, the proposed rule seeks to increase the minimum salary threshold for exempt workers from the current level of $23,660 to $50,440.
Continue Reading DOL’s New Overtime Rule To Be Released In Spring Of 2016

President Barack Obama is expected today to direct the Department of Labor to revise its wage-payment regulations so that more workers will receive overtime compensation.
Continue Reading President Expected To Increase The Number of Employees Eligible To Receive Overtime Compensation

Following the Supreme Court’s game-changing decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541, 2551 (2011), courts have struggled to determine the level and nature of proof a class plaintiff must present at the class certification stage. This is especially so when it comes to the requirements related to commonality: that there be questions of law or fact common to the class and that the common questions predominate over any questions affecting only individual class members. Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(2), (b)(3). Recently, Chief District Judge George King of the Central District of California refused to certify a wage-and-hour class on the ground that plaintiff was unable to establish commonality. See Pedroza v. PetSmart, Inc., No. ED CV 11-298-GHK (DTBx) (C.D. Cal. Jan. 28. 2013) (minute order).  This detailed order offers many great lessons for wage-and-hour actions brought on a class basis.


Continue Reading District Court Decision Denying Certification For Failure Of Common Proof

On June 18, 2012, in Christopher, et. al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., the United States Supreme Court issued its first decision interpreting the so-called white collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and finally resolved the circuit split over whether pharmaceutical sales representatives are exempt as outside salespeople.  This decision is not only a long-awaited victory for the pharmaceutical industry, but also a key win for employers in all industries. In Christopher, the Supreme Court held that pharmaceutical sales reps qualify for the outside salesman exemption and are not entitled to overtime wages. The Court also unanimously rejected the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) attempt at back-door regulation through an amicus brief, delivering a blow to the DOL’s recent enforcement campaign.


Continue Reading One Small Step For Employers, One Giant Leap For The Pharmaceutical Industry

On July 8th, partially relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 20th decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (for an analysis of the Dukes decision, see our previous blog entry), the United States District Court for the Northern District of California decertified a class of current and former store managers who alleged that Dollar Tree Stores Inc. had misclassified them as exempt employees and denied them overtime pay.  The case, Cruz v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., proves that although Dukes involved discrimination as opposed to wage and hour claims, the rationale in Dukes can also be used to defeat wage and hour class actions.

Continue Reading California Federal District Court Partially Relies On Dukes To Decertify A Class Of Store Managers Alleging Misclassification

Employers who hold their breath and declare an employment position as “exempt” from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime previsions − all the while knowing that the exempt v. non-exempt question is a close call − should take a simple step to save themselves substantial damages should a court later rule the position non-exempt.

When entering into an employment arrangement with the employee, the employer should obtain the employee’s acknowledgement in writing that the employee’s weekly hours may fluctuate, and that each weekly portion of the employee’s annual salary will constitute payment for all hours worked during that week.


Continue Reading One Tweak To Offer Letters Could Save Millions