Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the final version of its anticipated overtime exemption rule, setting a new annual salary threshold for “white collar” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at just over $35,000 per year.  In the DOL’s press release accompanying the final rule, the agency anticipated its action will “make 1.3 million American workers newly eligible for overtime pay.”  The new rule will take effect on January 1, 2020.[1]
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Last week, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law several amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act that are certain to have wide-ranging impacts. Most significantly, Illinois will join the growing number of states that prohibit employers from asking about or considering a job applicant’s prior salary history when making hiring decisions. The amendments will also modify an exception to the equal pay requirement that, in certain circumstances, allows employers to pay different wages to employees who work substantially similar jobs, and the amendments will expand the types and amounts of damages that are available for equal pay violations.

The new laws take effect on September 29, 2019, leaving little time for employers to adjust. Here’s what you need to know.
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On July 24, 2019, the Chicago City Council voted to pass the Fair Workweek Ordinance that will require covered employers to, among other things, provide employees with at least 10 days’ advance notice of their work schedules and provide additional compensation to employees for any unscheduled changes to their scheduled work hours. Mayor Lori Lightfoot publically supported and is expected to sign the ordinance, which will go into effect on July 1, 2020.
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On March 7, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to increase the salary threshold for the so-called “white collar exemptions” from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime pay requirements. The proposed rule would raise the required salary level substantially for executive, administrative, and professional employee exemptions from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $679 per week ($35,308 per year). According to the DOL, more than one million additional American workers will become eligible for overtime compensation based on this change. The rule does not adjust the duties’ tests for the white collar exemptions.
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Last week’s decision in Ward v. Tilly’s Inc. means that California employers with on-call policies are required to pay a minimum of two hours reporting time pay, even if the employee is told there is no need to come in to work that day.

A California Court of Appeal held that a company’s on-call scheduling policy requiring employees to call the employer in advance of a shift to find out if they need to appear for work triggered “reporting time” pay obligations under the California Industrial Welfare Commission’s (IWC) Wage Orders.

Under the Wage Orders, an employee who is required to report for work and does report must be paid for half the employee’s usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event less than two hours’ pay, nor more than four hours’ pay, at the employee’s regular rate of pay.
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California has broken with federal precedent once again in favor of its state employees, rejecting application of the Fair Labor Standard Act’s de minimis rule in a lawsuit seeking recovery of unpaid wages under California state law. Under the de minimis doctrine, employers are excused, in some circumstances, from paying employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for small amounts of otherwise compensable time worked when that time is administratively difficult to track. The California Supreme Court held last week in Troester v. Starbucks Corporation, that the de minimis doctrine does not apply to claims for unpaid wages under California state law where an employer requires its employees to work small amounts of time off the clock on a regular basis or as a regular feature of the job.
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The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Monday, on the eve of National Equal Pay Day, that it violates the Equal Pay Act to use pay history to justify wage gaps between male and female employees for the same or substantially similar work. The decision in Rizo v. Yovino, No. 16-15372 (9th Cir. Apr. 9, 2018) has immediate ramifications for employers in the Ninth Circuit in evaluating employee compensation.
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Pay Data Requirement for EEO-1 Form Stayed
Earlier this week, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) initiated an immediate stay of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s revamped Employer Information Report, or EEO-1. As discussed here, an expanded EEO-1 was issued in September 2016, and required employers to submit information on employee pay and hours by job category, in addition to demographic information. The new EEO-1 requirement was to take effect beginning with the next EEO-1 date of March 31, 2018 (changed from previous September 30 submission deadlines.)
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Employers in California now have long-overdue clarity about when their employee schedules comply with California law.

The California Supreme Court last Monday handed down a unanimous opinion, Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., that clarifies the meaning of California’s “day of rest” statutes. These statutes make it illegal for an employer to “cause” an employee to work “more than six days in seven,” unless “the total hours of employment do not exceed . . . six hours in any one day thereof.”
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In this 20-minute podcast, Hank Sledz and Lauren Novak discuss Congress’ push to allow private companies to offer comp time in lieu of paying time-and-a-half for overtime under the Working Families Flexibility Act, how employer-friendly the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Department of Labor will be under new leadership, and other important changes during