On May 2, 2022, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to Helix Energy Solutions Group Incorporated after Helix lost before the en banc United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in a sharply-divided opinion last year.  In Hewitt v. Helix Energy Solutions Grp., Inc., 15 F.4th 289 (5th Cir. 2021), the Fifth Circuit held 12-6 that employers must guarantee their day-rate workers a minimum weekly payment that is reasonably related to the amount those workers actually earn in that timespan for their workers to be exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements.  This minimum weekly payment must be a predetermined amount that does not change based on the number of days or hours actually worked, if the employer wishes to enjoy the FLSA’s exemptions to paying its day-rate workers overtime.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Will Consider Helix Day Rate Pay Case

A small but growing number of employees are asking for cryptocurrency as a form of compensation.  Whether a substitute for wages or as part of an incentive package, offering cryptocurrency as compensation has become a way for some companies to differentiate themselves from others.  In a competitive labor market, this desire to provide innovative forms of compensation is understandable.  But any company thinking about cryptocurrency needs to be aware of the risks involved, including regulatory uncertainties and market volatility.
Continue Reading Cryptocurrency As Compensation: Beware Of The Risks

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

In a huge win for California employers, the California Court of Appeals recently confirmed that courts have discretion to strike claims for penalties under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) if the claims will be unmanageable at trial.  This decision will help employers defeat—or significantly pare down—the broad and unwieldy claims for PAGA penalties that have become popular with the plaintiffs’ bar.
Continue Reading Courts Have Authority to Strike Unmanageable PAGA Claims, Says CA Court of Appeals

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

A federal district court in Florida recently declined to conditionally certify a nationwide collective action brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act because the plaintiff did not show sufficient evidence that she was similarly situated to other restaurant managers who wanted to join.
Continue Reading Federal Court Denies Conditional Certification of Collective Action Involving Restaurant Managers

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

In a case of first impression, the Third Circuit rejected the view of the United States Department of Labor, ruling that incentive payments from third parties are not necessarily included in the calculation of an employee’s overtime rate. 
Continue Reading Third Circuit: Certain Third Party Bonuses Excluded from FLSA Overtime Rate Calculation

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.
Continue Reading Massachusetts Retail and Inside Salespersons Are Now Entitled to Overtime and Sunday Premium Pay