Wage & Hour — Developments & Highlights


Mark contributes to the Wage & Hour — Developments & Highlights blog to provide the latest information and his observations on new developments in wage-hour law, such as class actions, exemption/misclassification and working time issues.

Recent Blog Posts

  • When Does Accrued Sick Time Become Wages? The Employer Can Dictate That An issue often facing employers, in every state, is: when does sick time or vacation time become wages and under what conditions should these days be paid out, especially when an employee separates employment. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has weighed in on this and held that accrued, unused sick time is not wages under state law.  The case is entitled Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority, and issued from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The Court vacated a lower court’s decision... More
  • Eddie Bauer Security Check Waiting Time Case Gets Certification: What Is “Working Time”? What is working time? There are many variations on this theme, some far grayer than others. When does waiting time become working time? Is the employee engaged to be waiting or waiting to be engaged? If the former, then it is working time. A class action involving more than 1,100 workers is now testing these hypotheses. These workers have been granted certification in a class action alleging they were not paid for time spent undergoing security checks before they left... More
  • Renaissance of USDOL Opinion Letters Is An Encouraging Development U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta (By US Department of Labor (L-17-05-01-C-AlexanderAcosta-023-E) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)I have often blogged about the usefulness of USDOL (or any DOL) Opinion Letters and I have lamented that this procedure was stopped under President Obama.  I hailed that the new Secretary of Labor was going back to it.  Well, we have hit the bonanza and the year has just started!  Opinion Letters provide a mechanism for businesses (or individuals) to ask that the... More
  • New Intern Test Announced By USDOL: Definitive Guidance? I have blogged many times about the rash of intern cases that have popped up over the last few years. Now maybe there will be a consistent, uniform test for determining whether interns are really statutory “employees.” The US Department of Labor has endorsed such a test. The agency is approving the so-called “primary beneficiary” standard. Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo The agency has endorsed a seven-part test for determining intern status. This was set forth in the Second Circuit decision... More
  • Admissions Director Exemption Issue May Impact Whether She Is Entitled To Pay For On-Call Hours I have blogged about and have long been concerned about working time issues and what constitutes compensable work hours. One of the thorniest of these issues is on-call time and when, if at all, on-call hours become working time. A recent case throws light on this issue, as a Court has held that an Admissions Director for a medical rehabilitation center may be eligible for overtime when she had to work more than forty hours in a week. The case... More
  • Ninth Circuit Finds Beauty School Students Were Not Employees There have been a great many intern cases recently, cases testing whether interns crossed the line into being statutory employees and therefore covered by the FLSA. I have blogged about these kinds of cases and have specifically blogged about beauty school cases. The Ninth Circuit has just affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of a lawsuit from three beauty school students, who allege they were employees while they studied for their degrees. The case is entitled Benjamin, et al v.... More
  • Arbitration Provision In Handbook Withstands Judicial Scrutiny In Dismissing FLSA Collective Action: Another Magic Bullet! There has been a great deal of litigation about class action waivers in Employee Handbooks and use of arbitration mechanisms in Employee Handbooks to preclude judicial litigation. A recent New Jersey federal case sheds more light on this thorny issue, and the decision favors employers. The case is entitled Essex v. The Children’s Place and was filed in federal court in the District of New Jersey. In October 2014, the Company developed an arbitration program that applied to all Associates working... More
  • The FLSA And Arbitration I read an interesting post by Daniel Schwartz in the Connecticut Employment Law Blog. It concerned a recent Second Circuit decision that bodes well for employers in the never-ending fight against wage-hour class actions. The case is entitled Rodriguez-Depena v. Parts Authority, Inc. et al. and issued from the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Court therein ruled that the arbitration clause set forth in the employment agreement precluded the federal action.  Dan noted that the “clear logic” of the... More
  • Use of Fluctuating Work Week Method To Pay Overtime Must Have A Fixed Salary As The Foundation A class of equipment operators and trainees has asked a federal court to approve a $1.35 million settlement of their FLSA class action lawsuit alleging the Company did not fairly pay them their wages and used a gimmick to avoid doing so.  The case is entitled Elliott v. Schlumberger Technology Corp. et al., and was filed in federal court in the District of North Dakota. The plaintiffs alleged that the Company violated the law by paying them under the “fluctuating workweek”... More
  • Case Interpreting FLSA Highly Compensated Exemption Takes Interesting Slant There has not been much litigation over the HCE, the so-called Highly Compensated Employee exemption under the FLSA. Recently, an interesting case explored the issue of whether commission payments can form the entirety of the required salary. In Pierce v. Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc., a federal court interpreted this exemption to determine this issue. The case was filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Tennessee. Copyright: sergo / 123RF Stock Photo The court observed that the regulation allowed a highly... More