The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the use of statistical sampling evidence to establish liability and damages in a “donning and doffing” overtime class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state wage law. Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146, 2016 WL 1092414 (U.S. Mar. 22, 2016).

Business groups had urged the Court to prohibit the use of statistical or “representative” evidence in class actions, arguing that a “trial by formula” ignores differences among individual class members and violates a defendant’s due process right to litigate defenses to individual claims. Continue Reading Supreme Court OKs Use of Statistical Sampling in Class Action

March inevitably brings the “madness” associated with the NCAA basketball tournament and office betting pools. Sports gambling is illegal in almost every state, and the NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering. The American Gaming Association estimated that $9 billion dollars was wagered illegally on the tournament last year alone, and office pools routinely contribute to that annual total. Still, it is a thinly-veiled secret in many organizations that office betting does go on from time to time.  Employers can and do take different approaches to the issue, from looking the other way to disseminating and strictly enforcing a prohibitive policy.  Whatever path management follows, they should do so with their eyes open to the risks—legal and non-legal—related to office gambling. Continue Reading This March, Will Employers Bench Office Betting Pools?

There’s no dissent here.  Justice Scalia’s unexpected passing presents a potential blow to employers in two ways.  First, the Supreme Court lost one of its most staunchly conservative justices, who often sided with management in key employment-related decisions.  Second, his death has left the Supreme Court without a clear majority and no easy mechanism to reverse appellate court decisions favoring employees.  With the 2016 elections nearly eight months away, and the likelihood of a replacement shrinking with each news cycle, 4-4 decisions are probably the new norm until a replacement is confirmed after the election. Continue Reading It’s Unanimous: Employers Face an Uncertain Future After Justice Scalia’s Death

We all know that employers do not receive “time off” from applicable employment laws during the holidays. To avoid unnecessary holiday headaches, be mindful of the following issues as you conduct your workplace holiday staffing and planning.

Comply with your Policies and Collective Bargaining Agreements

Remember to abide by the applicable holiday provisions of your policies, agreements, or collective bargaining agreements. Pay for unworked time on recognized holidays; how time worked on holidays is computed or paid; and eligibility requirements for receipt of holiday pay are often a matter of policy or contract. Breaching such provisions—or disparately enforcing them—can give rise to a claim, charge, or grievance. Continue Reading Let’s Talk Turkey: Wage/Hour and Other Laws to Feast on Over Thanksgiving

California’s new Fair Pay Act amends existing law to enact what is widely being considered as the most stringent equal pay law in the country.  The Fair Pay Act will amend existing law in a number of significant ways, making it easier for employees to bring equal pay suits against their employers.  Under previous law, an employee had to show that he or she was being paid less than an opposite sex colleague who was performing “equal work.”  The new law will allow employees to compare their pay with colleagues who hold different, but “similar” positions, regardless of job title. It goes into effect January 1, 2016. Continue Reading California Adopts Most Stringent Equal Pay Law in the Nation

Employment law loomed large on the Supreme Court’s docket this term. In seven highly anticipated cases, the Court interpreted federal employment statutes from Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to FLSA and ERISA.

While employers received favorable rulings in some cases, the Court’s decisions regarding religious discrimination and the accommodation of pregnant workers could impact employers’ current practices and policies. Employers should review hiring, accommodation, and other policies—even those that are facially neutral—to ensure compliance with the Court’s recent holdings. Continue Reading Employment Law Highlights from the Supreme Court’s Current Term

To help employers prepare for the new year, this Alert addresses certain legislative developments in 2015 that are likely to affect employers this year under federal law as well as in Illinois, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., Georgia, Michigan and Texas. Continue Reading 2015 Legislative Developments

Employers can breathe a momentary sigh of relief as a result of the recent Supreme Court decision issued in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, a case that resolved the issue of whether employers are required to compensate their employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for time spent passing through mandatory security screenings at the close of the workday. In reversing a decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in favor of the employees, the Supreme Court ruled that such time is not compensable under the FLSA because the security screenings are not an “intrinsic element” of the activities that the employees were employed to perform and therefore do not meet the Court’s previously established “integral and indispensable” test. Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Employee Compensation is Not Required for Workplace Security Screenings

On September 10, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1522, known as the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.” This bill requires California employers, large and small, to provide paid sick leave for their employees. California and Connecticut are the only states in the country thus far to mandate paid sick leave. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2015.

Coverage: Unlike certain other employment laws that are limited to larger employers, there is no minimum number of employees required to trigger coverage under AB 1522. The law broadly extends paid sick leave to most employees, with limited exceptions for certain employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, to providers of in-home supportive services, and to certain employees of air carriers. The exclusion for employees covered by collective bargaining agreements applies if the agreement expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of employees, and expressly provides for 1) paid sick days or a paid leave or paid time off policy that permits the use of sick days for those employees; 2) final and binding arbitration of disputes concerning the application of its paid sick days provisions; 3) premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked; and 4) regular hourly rate of pay of not less than 30% more than the state minimum wage rate. A separate exclusion also applies to employees in the construction industry covered by a collective bargaining agreement if the agreement includes specified provisions and was entered into before January 1, 2015 or expressly waives the requirements of AB 1522. Continue Reading California Passes Paid Sick Leave Law and Other Recent Legislation