Employer Law Report

Tag Archives: wage

Court Denies Employer’s Access to Social Media Posts in FLSA Collective Action and Sends Warning: If You Want Access to Social Media, Come with Both Barrels Loaded … Leave the Water Gun at Home

A federal court has denied a defendant-employer’s request that plaintiffs sift through and turn over all their social media posts made during their work hours in an FLSA collective action in which the plaintiffs claim their employer failed to give them meal breaks. How did that happen? I thought you’d never ask.

By way of background, Jewell v. Aaron’s Inc., is a nationwide,1,700+ FLSA collective action pending in the Northern District of Georgia. In the suit (Complaint accessible here), the class plaintiffs (current and former employees of Aaron’s) claim they were not paid for their 30-minute meal periods. …

Defending an FLSA Auto-Deduct Policy Case Starts with the Foundation — Another Smart Employer with Smart Policies Sends Another Group of Nationwide Plaintiffs Packing

The Northern District of Ohio is the latest in a long line of courts to send the following message to nationwide collective class plaintiffs: Stop seeking nationwide class certification where the plaintiffs are spread across facilities and have too many factual differences to be "similarly situated" and to have experienced a common injury under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").

In Creely v. HCR ManorCare, Inc. (N.D. Ohio Jan. 31, 2013), a group of 318 nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, and admissions coordinators opted into a collective action lawsuit alleging that their employer, HCR ManorCare, Inc. ("HCR"), …

Stick a Fork in It: Supreme Court Declines Review and Allows Fifth Circuit’s Ruling Approving Private Settlements in FLSA Cases to Stand

We have kept you up to speed on Martin v. Spring Break ’83 Productions, L.L.C., here and then here, a Fifth Circuit case in which the Fifth Circuit approved a private settlement of employees’ claims for unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). More specifically, the court held that parties could privately settle and release wage claims, under the right circumstances, and that doing so would not compromise employee rights guaranteed by the FLSA. The plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to review the case arguing that the decision creates a split among the circuits, which it does. …

Sixth Circuit Awards Employer Over $55,000 in Costs in FLSA Collective Action

In September, we told you about the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Frye v. Baptist Memorial Hospital, Inc., where the court handed down, not one, but two favorable rulings for employers in an FLSA collective action. First, the court held that automatic pay deduction policies for unpaid meal breaks do not per se violate the FLSA, and that a class representative plaintiff in a collective action must formally opt-in to their own case to "commence" suit and stop the running of the statute of limitations or be barred from suit. Here’s that blog.

After considering the employer’s motion for …

Martin v. Spring Break ’83 Productions, LLC … the Sequel or Part Deux? The Supreme Court is Asked to Review Whether a Private Settlement Agreement Dismissing FLSA Claims is Enforceable

As you might recall, in August we blogged on Martin v. Spring Break ’83 Productions, LLC, a case involving the blockbuster movie "Spring Break ’83" [stated with sarcasm], where the Fifth Circuit became the first federal appellate court to enforce a private FLSA settlement. In that blog, available here, we crossed our fingers and hoped the Fifth Circuit’s decision would come to a jurisdiction near you. Well, that hope is one step closer to reality as the plaintiffs/appellants – now the Petitioners – filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari (the "Petition") and asked the United States Supreme …

The Sixth Circuit Gives Employers a “Twofer”: An Employer’s Automatic Pay Deduction Policy Does Not Automatically Violate the FLSA and a Class Plaintiff Must “Commence” Suit

In Frye v. Baptist Memorial Hospital, Inc., the United States District Court for the Sixth Circuit handed down not one, but two favorable rulings for employers in an FLSA collective action. First, in considering an automatic pay deduction policy for unpaid meal breaks in a collective action for the first time, the Court held that such a policy does not automatically, or per se, violate the FLSA. Second, a class representative plaintiff must formally opt-in to their own case to "commence" suit and stop the running of the statute of limitations.

1.  The Sixth Circuit Holds that Automatic Pay

Ohio Department of Commerce Issues New Prevailing Wage Guidelines

 The Ohio Department of Commerce recently released new prevailing wage guidelines.  These guidelines, which became effective on October 15, 2008 and are available at http://com.ohio.gov/laws/,  focus on construction projects supported by both public and private funds.  Essentially, whenever a public entity contributes funding or other direct support (such as public land) to a project, even an otherwise privately-financed project, prevailing wage must be paid to the workers on that project.  The guidelines also state that, for the most part, projects may not be subdivided into a publicly-supported project and a privately-financed project in order to avoid prevailing wage on certain …

Ohio Minimum Wage Changes

Effective January 1, 2009, Ohio’s minimum wage will increase to $7.30/hour generally and $3.65/hour for tipped employees (plus tips). 

The state minimum wage will briefly change to $6.55/hour for employers grossing $267,000 or less per year and employees who are 14 or 15 years of age. On July 24, 2009, pursuant to an increase in the federal minimum wage, the Ohio minimum wage increases to $7.25 per hour those employees whose employers gross $267,000 or less and 14 & 15 year olds.…

Wage and Hour Update: New Opinion Letters from DOL

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) recently released two new opinion letters. Both are employer-friendly.

Opinion Letter FLSA2008-1 addressed whether purchasing agents in a private sector company were properly categorized as exempt administrative employees. Based on the specific context, DOL determined that the employees were exempt from overtime requirements. As a reminder, to meet the criteria for an administrative exemption, the position must: (1) meet the salary basis test; (2) have a “primary duty” of performing office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and (3) include the exercise of …

Court Finds That Immigrant Workers’ Transportation and Visa Expenses Must Be Taken Into Account For Minimum Wage Purposes

A recent wage-and-hour case illustrates the effect payroll deductions can have on minimum wage compliance. In Rivera v. Brickman Group, Ltd., No. 05-1518 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 7, 2008), a company brought Guatemalan and Mexican workers to the United States for seasonal employment under H-2B visas. Although the workers were paid amounts that appeared to be above the minimum wage, the company failed to take into account certain travel expenses and other employment-related costs incurred by the workers – expenses that reduced the workers’ earnings below minimum wage levels.

In particular, the court found that transportation expenses, costs involved in obtaining visas, …

Deductions From Pay Can Be Dangerous!

Are you making improper deductions from employees’ pay without even realizing it?  Have you ever had a manager who is consistently late and you want to impose a fine equal to 15 minutes of pay for each occurrence?  Or an hourly employee who loses or destroys company tools or equipment and you want them to pay you back for what they broke?  What about an employee who resigns while he or she has a negative leave balance? In all these situations, making a deduction from pay makes logical sense.  But these deductions may be contrary to wage and hour law.

First, …

Sixth Circuit Holds That Gas Station Manager Is An Executive Employee Under the FLSA

Adding clarity to an often-litigated area of wage and hour law, the Sixth Circuit recently held that a small store manager was exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements despite her performance of non-managerial tasks and close supervision by her district manager. The case – Thomas v. Speedway SuperAmerica, LLC, No. 04-00147 (6th Cir. 2007) – involved a Speedway  gas station and convenience store manager who Speedway claimed was an exempt “executive employee” under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Even though the store manager was the most senior employee at the store, she was supervised by a district manager who visited the store twice …

Ohio’s Minimum Wage Increases In 2008

Ohio employers should be aware that the minimum wage is about to increase yet again. The Ohio Department of Commerce has announced that the state’s minimum wage will increase to $7.00 per hour on January 1, 2008 – a 15 cent increase over the 2007 minimum wage. The minimum wage for tipped employees will rise from $3.43 to $3.50 per hour, so long as employees earn a total of $7.00 per hour once wages and tips are combined. 

These new minimum wages apply to employees over 16 years of age whose employers gross more than $255,000 annually. For employees younger than 16 and …

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