Employers: Don’t Be Part of the Department of Labor’s Statistics

Frank Kollman
Frank Kollman
10/30/2019
The Department of Labor is reporting that it collected $322 million in back wages for workers in fiscal year 2019, which is a record.  The amount collected in fiscal year 2018 was also a record at that time.  This should put to rest any concerns about DOL enforcement policies under a Republican administration. Most of the cases involved overtime compensation ($186 million), and about $40 million involved failure to pay minimum wage.  In any...
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Tell Us About Bad Wage and Hour Investigators Says Head of Wage and Hour Division

Frank Kollman
Frank Kollman
10/21/2019
The wage and hour laws are complicated, and rarely intuitive.  Technical violations of wage and hour laws are so common that no company can be absolutely positive that it is complying with all Department of Labor regulations, and the laws and regulations of states and local jurisdictions. In fact, these laws and regulations are so complicated that even the investigators hired to enforce them often interpret them incorrectly.  There are statutes,...
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"Not Willful" Is Not The Same As "No Bad Faith" - A Lesson In FLSA Liquidated Damages

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
08/06/2019
After a jury verdict was returned in favor of a group of Baltimore nightclub exotic dancers for their claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Maryland wage and hour law against the nightclub owner and the two nightclub entities, the presiding Magistrate Judge also awarded liquidated damages to the plaintiffs.  The club owner appealed on various grounds including questioning how the judge was able to award liquidated damages when the jury had...
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Department of Labor Opines That Gig Workers are Independent Contractors

On April 29, 2019, the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Division issued an opinion letter (FLSA2019-6) stating that workers in the “gig” or “sharing” economy should be considered as independent contractors rather than employees.  This opinion letter, while limited to the specific facts of the anonymous company who requested it, has potentially wide-ranging consequences for the sharing economy as a whole. The DOL’s letter...
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Maryland Increases Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
04/01/2019
The Maryland General Assembly has voted to override Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of legislation increasing the minimum wage.  As a result, the minimum wage in the State will increase to $15 per hour by 2025 for employers with 15 or more employees and 2026 for employers with 14 or fewer employees. The minimum wage will gradually increase over the next six to seven years, depending on the size of the employer, with the first increase occurring on...
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DOL Proposes New Rules on Regular Rate Calculations

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
03/28/2019
As anyone who has ever tried to properly calculate overtime can attest, the question of what compensation should properly be included in an employee's regular rate of pay is a vexing one.  On March 28, 2019, the United States Department of Labor proposed new rules that may add some clarity. The "regular rate" of pay is the base number that employers must multiply by 1.5 to determine how much overtime compensation is owed to an employee for hours...
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Meal Periods On Plane Are Not Compensable Time

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
03/14/2019
Ed Alonso worked for Akal Security, Incorporated (“Akal”) as an Aviation Security Officer (“ASO”). ASO’s supervise people being deported from the United States during domestic travel between holding facilities and international travel to the deportees’ home countries.  Once deportees are transported to their home countries, ASO's take a return flight to the United States. Akal’s policy provided for a one-hour unpaid meal period on...
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Two Important Wage-Related Updates

This has been an action-packed week on the wage and hour frontier.  Two important decisions at the federal level are expected to significantly impact most employers going forward. Revised Overtime Rule First, on Thursday evening, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced its long-awaited proposed rule to update the salary exemption threshold under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from its 2004 levels.  All employees who are paid a salary falling...
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Virginia General Assembly Considering Bills to Allow Employees to Sue for Unpaid Wages

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
01/29/2019
Unlike many states, Virginia does not provide a statutory right for employees to sue their employer for unpaid wages.  At present, an employee is limited to filing a complaint with the state Department of Labor & Industry or filing suit for breach of contract. However, two bills introduced by Delegates from both sides of the aisle may soon change that. House Bills 1687 and 2524 would both amend Virginia Code Section 40.1-29 to allow employees...
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Department of Labor Rescinds 80/20 Tip Rule

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
12/07/2018
Employers in the restaurant industry are probably familiar with the tip credit, which, in general terms, allows an employer to claim a “credit” between what it pays tipped employees and the minimum wage.  The tips that such employees earn, and form the basis for the “credit,” are thought to make up for this gap. However, problems arise when tipped employees perform side work that is related, but not part of, the tipped work.  For example,...
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