Maryland’s Highest Court Holds That Employees May Recover Treble Damages for Unpaid Overtime

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
08/18/2014
Last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Peters v. Early Healthcare Giver, Inc. a case that dramatically shifts the terrain of Maryland wage and hour law in employees’ favor. September Term 2013, No. 86 (Md. Aug. 13, 2014). Most significantly, Peters holds that employees suing for unpaid overtime may now be able to recover three times the amount of overtime at issue for a period of three years prior to filing suit. It is...
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Court Rules Feds' Delayed Paychecks During Shutdown Violates FLSA

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
08/05/2014
It wasn’t that long ago when, in October 2013, Congress failed to pass a budget and the federal government shut down. As evidenced by a recent opinion from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the impact of the shutdown is not quite over. Martin v. United States, No. 13-834C (Fed. Cl. July 31, 2014). A week after the shutdown ended, a group of federal government employees filed suit alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29...
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How a $50 Garnishment Error Spawned a Class Action Lawsuit

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
04/25/2014
This case should serve as yet another example of the long and winding road that litigation can take when a seemingly minor issue is seen as something more. Maryland’s Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Bonita Marshall v. Safeway, Inc., No. 56, September Term.    In Safeway, Ms. Marshall was an employee of Safeway who was subject to a creditor’s wage garnishment in 2009.  When presented with the garnishment, Safeway calculated...
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Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Employees Must be Paid for Time Spent in Security Screenings

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
03/06/2014
In January, the Supreme Court affirmed a decision of the Seventh Circuit, which held that steel workers were merely changing clothes when they were “doffing and donning” protective gear and, therefore, that time was not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., 2014 U.S. LEXIS 799 (Jan. 27, 2014).  Sandifer was discussed in a recent post here at the Employment Brief. Little more than a month...
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Maryland Court Awards Over $400,000 in Attorneys Fees in FLSA Case

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
02/28/2014
This is an issue near and dear to my heart (having just successfully obtained denials of Rule 23 and FLSA Collective Action certification motions ).  Successful plaintiffs in FLSA actions are entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.  The amount, however, is within the trial court’s discretion.  In deciding the amount, the court must calculate the lodestar, or the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation times a...
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President Obama Increases Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
02/14/2014
As promised in the State of the Union address,  on February 12th, President Obama issued an Executive Order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contractors and sub-contractors.  The Executive Order can be found here, and the accompanying fact sheet can be found here.  Citing increased morale and productivity, and lower turnover and absenteeism, the Order will apply to all new covered contracts where the solicitation for the contract...
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Supreme Court Unanimous: Steel Workers Were Just Changing Clothes

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
01/29/2014
The issue of what constitutes “compensable time” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is, for most employers, not so difficult to figure out: you clock in, you work, you get paid.   There are, however, some occupations where things are less clear. What if you have to put on a uniform (a police officer or fast food server)?  Well, if you can put it on at home and drive to work, you do not get paid for “doffing and donning,” as it is...
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Maryland Federal Court Denies Arbitration for Wage Claims

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
12/17/2013
The Federal District Court in Maryland recently issued a ruling that should give Maryland employers some concern.  In Jeffrey B. Mould v. NJG Food Service Inc., et al.,  the Court examined the effect of an arbitration agreement on an employee’s federal and state wage claims.  Most practitioners know that arbitration is generally favored by the courts and is hotly contested by plaintiffs, who prefer to try their claims before a jury.  This case...
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Texas Court Strikes Down FLSA Collective Action

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
11/14/2013
Over the past few years, employers have been besieged by "collective actions" filed under federal and state wage and hour laws. These lawsuits aggregate individual claims for unpaid overtime into class actions, thereby making it much more lucrative for a plaintiff's attorney to invest the time and effort into pursuing the case. In  Jones v. Xerox Commercial Solutions, LLC, No. 4:13-cv-650 (S.D. Tex., November 6, 2013), a federal court in Texas...
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DOL Says Law Firms Need Not Pay Interns Doing Pro Bono Work

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
09/25/2013
On September 12, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Solicitor M. Patricia Smith issued a letter to the American Bar Association (“ABA”) stating that interns working in private law firms need to be paid in certain circumstances.  The ABA specifically inquired into situations in which a law school places a student with a private law firm and acts as an intermediary to monitor the internship’s progress, and in which the law firm provides...
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