On Tuesday, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a decision enjoining the Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing its new overtime rule. State of Nevada et al. v. U.S. Department of Labor et al., case number 16-cv-00731. The new rule, which was announced in May 2016 and was set to become effective on December 1, 2016, sent employers scrambling to comply with a substantial increase to the minimum salary requirements for the white collar exemptions. In his decision, the judge held that the DOL had exceeded its authority in issuing the rule.
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In a major victory for the business community, Judge Sam R. Cummings of the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a permanent nationwide injunction blocking the Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing its new “persuader” rule. National Federation of Independent Business, et al. v. Perez, et al., Case No. 5:16-cv-00066. The rule attempted to expand disclosure requirements by employers and their consultants (including attorneys) related to union-organizing campaigns.
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Employers and their attorneys can breathe a collective sigh of relief, at least for the time being. On Monday, a Texas judge issued a nationwide injunction against the Department of Labor (DOL), preventing it from enforcing its new Persuader Rule after finding that the rule was “defective to its core.”
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Two weeks after publishing proposed new rules to update the white collar exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), yesterday the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued a 15-page Administrator’s Interpretation concluding that “most workers” are employees, as opposed to independent contractors, under the FLSA. (A copy of the guidance can be found here) Although this guidance does not change current law or regulations but rather is intended to provide clarity on the proper classification of workers, employers who utilize independent contractors should view it as further evidence of the aggressive stance the DOL is taking on this issue.
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Beginning on March 27, 2015, individuals in lawful same-sex marriages will be entitled to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to care for their same-sex spouses regardless of the state in which they reside.

The FMLA requires employers to give eligible employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for the employee’s own serious medical condition, or the serious health condition of a spouse, son, daughter, or parent.

Historically, same-sex married couples were not entitled to FMLA benefits because Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) limited the definition of “spouse” to persons of the opposite sex who are a husband or a wife. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) interpreted the definition of spouse in the FMLA to include same-sex married couples domiciled in a state that recognized same-sex marriage. However, same-sex couples who lived in a state that did not recognize same-sex marriage were not eligible for FMLA leave to care for their same-sex spouse under this rule.
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Last week, a New York federal district court ruled that unpaid interns working for a film production company were employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York wage and hour law. Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., No. 11-cv-6784 (S.D.N.Y. June 11, 2013). The court also conditionally certified a related FLSA class action and certified a related class claim under New York law.
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