Volunteer Firefighters are “Employees” for FMLA Coverage

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
08/20/2013
In a real head scratcher, the Sixth Circuit has held 2-1 that volunteer firefighters are “employees” who are counted for, and therefore get protection under, the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Mendel v. City of Gibraltar, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16922 (August 15, 2013).  The majority made this decision based on the “substantial wages” paid for the services performed. The City of Gibraltar, Michigan has approximately 25 volunteer firefighters...
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Employee’s Failure to Estimate Overtime Hours May Defeat FLSA Claims

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
08/06/2013
 On August 5, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a lower court decision holding that an employee’s FLSA claims were properly dismissed by the trial court.  Dejesus v. HF Mgmt. Servs., LLC, No. 12-4565 (2d. Cir. Aug. 5, 2013).  The district court had dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint because it lacked the factual specificity detailing the alleged unpaid overtime hours that she had allegedly...
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Maryland Governor Signs New Law to Enforce Wage Claims

Last week, Maryland Gov. O'Malley signed into law the "Lien for Unpaid Wages Act." This new law, SB 758, allows employees to file a lien against their employer’s real or personal property for unpaid wages allegedly due them. Once the employee files a lien, the employer must file a complaint setting forth its defenses in the Circuit Court where the employer's property is located within 30 days. If the employer fails to do so, the employee will have...
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Bank is Not Joint Employer of Security Guards Under FLSA

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
05/16/2013
In today’s workplace, most employers rely upon outside vendors to supply security services. What employers may not know is that the fact that the security guards are not their own employees does not necessarily mean that the employer is not liable for violations of employment laws. The answer to the liability question turns in large part on how much control the employer has over the terms of employment for the guards. On May 14, 2013, a federal...
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Court Grants Conditional Class Certification For Police Officers’ Overtime Claim Based On After Hours Blackberry Use

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
02/27/2013
On January 14, 2013, a federal district court approved a Chicago police sergeant’s request for conditional certification of an FLSA collective action for unpaid overtime wages.  Allen v. Chicago, No. 10-03183 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 14, 2013). The lawsuit alleges that the Chicago Police Department failed to pay police officers overtime pay for time spent working on their city-issued BlackBerry devices after regular work hours.  According to the...
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Liquidated Damages In FLSA Retaliation Claims Are Not Mandatory

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
02/18/2013
Is it a requirement to award liquidated damages in a wage and hour retaliation case?  The question has been raised before and rejected.  It has now been rejected again.  This time, in Moore v. Appliance Direct, Inc., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 3047 (11th Cir. Feb. 13, 2013), the Eleventh Circuit held that the plain language of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) makes the award of liquidated damages discretionary and agreed with the Sixth and Eighth...
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Rite Aid’s Full-Day Unpaid Leave Policy Valid under FLSA

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
12/20/2012
Three former Rite Aid pharmacists filed a class action suit against the national retain drugstore chain, seeking overtime pay under state and federal laws.  The professionals contended that Rite Aid’s unpaid personal leave policy disqualified them from exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and impermissibly reduced their salaries.  Maryland’s federal district court granted summary judgment for Rite Aid, finding that the...
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Be Prepared For Various State Minimum Wage Increases Effective January 1, 2013

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
12/18/2012
Companies with operations in multiple states will want to take note of the minimum hourly wage increases that are being implemented on January 1, 2013 in various states: Arizona is increasing its minimum hourly wage from $7.65 to $7.80.  The minimum wage for tipped employees increases from $4.65 to $4.80. Colorado will increase its minimum wage from $7.64 to $7.78.  Minimum wage for tipped employees will go from $4.62 to $4.76. Florida is...
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Maryland Extends Personal Liability to Individuals Under State Wage Payment Law

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
11/30/2012
In Campusano v. Lusitano Construction, LLC, et al., No. 1529 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Nov. 21, 2012) (Matricciani, J.), the Maryland Court of Special Appeals concluded that individuals may be “employers” and therefore be liable under Maryland’s Wage Payment and Collection Law (MWCPL). Francisco de Oliveria worked for his son’s business, Lusitano Construction, LLC.  As a supervisor of a construction project, Francisco “set [employees’]...
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Four More Years: What Does Obama's Reelection Mean for Employers?

With the results of the Presidential election now in, its time to answer a question I’ve heard from a number of clients today: what does President Obama’s reelection mean for employers?  The short answer: you can expect to see a lot of blog posts from us about aggressive enforcement initiatives by the NLRB, DOL, EEOC, and other enforcement agencies.  In this post, I’ll give you a high level overview of what I think we are going to see. NLRB:...
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