On September 9, 2021, the Fifth Circuit issued a 12-6 opinion in Hewitt v. Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc., 15 F.4th 289 (5th Cir. 2021) that clarified the requirements for day rate workers to fall within one of the FLSA’s exemptions from overtime payment.  This ruling was hotly-contested because it made clear that employers must take additional steps to properly classify their day rate workers as exempt employees, even when those employees clearly exceed the financial threshold of the highly compensated exemption.  Many expect the decision to substantially affect the course of day rate FLSA litigation in the Fifth Circuit, especially misclassification disputes within the energy industry.
Continue Reading Cert Filed in Hope Supreme Court Will Reevaluate Fifth Circuit’s FLSA OT Ruling

On December 13, 2021, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) issued its long-awaited decision determining that the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute, G.L. c. 149, § 148B (“Independent Contractor Statute”), which establishes the three-pronged “ABC” test used to classify workers as independent contractors or employees – and provides for a rebuttable presumption that workers are employees unless the purported employer proves otherwise – is not the applicable standard to determine whether an entity is a joint employer.
Continue Reading Massachusetts High Court Rules “ABC” Test Is Inapplicable To Joint Employer Status

On August 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals became the first federal appellate court to hold that where nonresident plaintiffs opt into a putative collective action under the FLSA, a court may not exercise specific personal jurisdiction over claims unrelated to the defendant’s conduct in the forum state.  Canaday v. The Anthem Companies, Inc. (Case No. 20-5947) (6th Cir).  The next day, the Eighth Circuit reached the same conclusion in a separate case.  Vallone v. CJS Solutions Group, LLC, d/b/a HCI Group (Case No. 20-2874) (8th Cir). 
Continue Reading Two Federal Appellate Courts Hold that Nationwide FLSA Collective Actions Cannot Be Brought Outside of a Defendant’s Home State

Most employers know the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employees to be paid time-and-one-half for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek unless an exemption applies.  But what some employers don’t realize is, for the most-commonly-used overtime exemptions to apply, employees must not only satisfy various “duties” tests, but they must also be paid on a “salary basis” at not less than $684 per week.  Payment on a salary basis means an employee regularly receives a predetermined amount of compensation each pay period on a weekly, or less frequent, basis.
Continue Reading Upcoming Fifth Circuit Hearing to Address FLSA Day-Rate Issues

Following the flood of employee-friendly legislation during the Virginia General Assembly’s 2020 session, which included a significantly strengthened wage payment law, the 2021 session resulted in the passage of yet another new wage-related law that employers need to be aware of.  This new law – the “Virginia Overtime Wage Act” – goes into effect on July 1, 2021 and will usher in the first overtime pay requirement in Virginia’s history.
Continue Reading Virginia’s New Overtime Law Threatens Double and Treble Damages For Employers Who Don’t Pay Up

Previously, we wrote about a final rule issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) during the last days of the Trump administration addressing the appropriate test for classifying independent contractors under the FLSA. We noted that the future of the rule was in question because it was not set to go into effect until March 8, 2021. This delayed implementation provided an opportunity for the incoming Biden administration to freeze or withdraw the rule.
Continue Reading DOL Freezes Rule on Independent Contractor Classification Test under the FLSA and Withdraws Several Opinion Letters

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

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

For decades, most federal courts have held the view that private settlements of Fair Labor Standards Act claims are unenforceable unless they are approved by the Department of Labor or a court.  However, some federal courts have recently begun to challenge this long-held view and have taken a more flexible approach that treats FLSA settlements no differently than settlements or releases involving other employment law claims.
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Holds that Private FLSA Settlement With Union Bars Future FLSA Claims