We recently highlighted DOL opinion letter 2018-27, which rescinded the 80/20 rule and was a welcome change for employers in the restaurant industry.  However, less than two months after the DOL’s policy change, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri rejected the DOL’s new guidance, claiming it is “unpersuasive and unworthy” of deference.

As a refresher, the 80/20 rule requires businesses to pay tipped workers at least minimum wage (with no tip credit) for non-tip generating tasks when these tasks take up more than 20% of the tipped workers’ time.

Continue Reading Federal Court “Tips” the Scale in Favor of Restaurant Workers by Reviving 80/20 Rule

The California Second Appellate District has held that retail employees who were required to “call in” two hours before their scheduled shift to find out if they actually needed to report to work were entitled to reporting time pay. The Court held that California retail employees do not need to physically appear at the workplace in order to “report for work,” and be entitled to reporting time pay, under the Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Order 7.  Given the robust dissent and sweeping change this decision could bring about, this is a case to watch as it may find its way to the California Supreme Court.

Continue Reading California Court Holds On-Call Scheduling Means Reporting Time Pay for Employees

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently published an Opinion Letter (FLSA-2018-27) reissuing its January 16, 2009 guidance (Opinion Letter FLSA-2009-23) and reversing its Obama-era position on the 20% tip credit rule.  This opinion letter marks another major shift in DOL’s policy and presents a welcome change for employers in the restaurant industry.

Continue Reading DOL “Tips” the Scale in Favor of Restaurant Employers by Ending 20% Tip Credit Rule

After the Eleventh Circuit’s holding in Asalde v. First Class Parking Systems LLC 894 F.3d 1248 (11th Cir. 2018), more small employers may be subject to the requirements of the FLSA.  By expanding the “handling clause,” the case chips away at the degree of interstate commerce necessary for the FLSA to apply.

Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Expands the FLSA’s Handling Clause

The California Supreme Court has ruled that California employers cannot rely on the federal de minimis doctrine to avoid claims for unpaid wages on small amounts of time.   Under the de minimis doctrine, employers may be excused from paying workers for small amounts of otherwise compensable time if the work is irregular and administratively difficult to record.  Federal Courts have frequently found that daily periods of approximately 10 minutes are de minimis even though otherwise compensable.

In Troester v. Starbucks Corporation, the California Supreme Court held that California wage and hour laws have not adopted the FLSA’s de minimis doctrine.  As a result, Starbucks was not permitted to avoid paying an employee who regularly spent several minutes per shift working off-the-clock.  The Supreme Court acknowledged, however, that there may be circumstances involving “employee activities that are so irregular or brief in duration that it would not be reasonable to require employers to compensate employees for the time spent on them.”

Continue Reading FLSA De Minimis Defense Does Not Apply to California Wage Claims

In AHMC Healthcare, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. B285655 (June 25, 2018) (“AHMC Healthcare”), California’s Second District Court of Appeals upheld an employer’s use of a payroll system that automatically rounds employee time up or down to the nearest quarter hour.  Although the California Supreme Court has not yet addressed this issue, AHMC Healthcare aligns with decisions from the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, many federal district courts, and California’s Fourth District Court of Appeals, which also upheld time-rounding practices.

Continue Reading Time-Rounding Systems Endorsed by California Court Despite Net Loss to Named Plaintiffs

Oregon’s Fair Work Week Act (also known as Oregon’s predictive scheduling law) (the “Act”) is proceeding full speed ahead and will add significant challenges and costs for retailers. The majority of the Act goes into effect on July 1, 2018. Following similar ordinances regulating employee hours passed at municipal levels in Emeryville, California; New York City; San Francisco; San Jose; Seattle; and Washington, D.C., Oregon becomes the latest jurisdiction and the first state to enact a predictive scheduling law.

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New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act will go into effect on October 29, 2018, making it the tenth state plus Washington DC and dozens of localities to mandate paid sick leave.

New Jersey’s Act requires employers of all sizes to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid leave per 12-month period.  Key aspects of the new law include: Continue Reading New Jersey Requires Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave

When a franchisor provides a California franchisee with detailed instructions about how to operate the franchise business, but allows the franchisee to manage its own workforce, can the franchisor be held liable for the franchisee’s wage and hour violations?  The California Court of Appeals found the answer to be no under the facts in Curry v. Equilon Enterprises, LLC, 2018 WL 1959472 (Cal. Ct. App. Apr. 26, 2018).  There, the Court of Appeals concluded Equilon Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Shell Oil Products US (“Shell”), was not liable for the alleged wage and hour violations of the company that operated its Shell-branded gas stations throughout California. Continue Reading Are Franchisors Joint Employers in California Wage Cases?