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Wage and Hour Laws Blog

Wage and hour litigation is not only alive and well in the U.S., but has actually been increasing at an exponential rate in the last 10 years. This popularity is in large part due to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s collective action procedure and liquidated damages penalty — as well as its penchant for ensnaring unwitting employers who happen to make simple, yet costly, mistakes.

In a win secured by members of Fisher Phillips Wage and Hour Law Practice Group, a Colorado federal court just held that employers may “reasonably approximate” vehicle-related expenses for reimbursement purposes under federal wage law. The August 26 decision deals a significant blow to the viability of minimum wage claims brought under the FLSA’s “free and clear/anti-kickback” regulations that seek to tie reimbursement of delivery driver vehicle expenses to the IRS standard business mileage rate. Less than a week after the victory in Kennedy v. Mountainside Pizza, Inc., the Department of Labor landed another haymaker by releasing an opinion letter that affirms the court’s reasoning. 

The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) just released a Wage and Hour Opinion Letter today addressing the fluctuating workweek, reiterating its position that an employee’s work hours do not need to fluctuate above and below 40 hours for an employer to rely upon the fluctuating workweek method of calculating overtime. However, there remain some unanswered questions that should cause employers to tread cautiously when implementing this system.

Federal courts across the country have been split on the issue of whether a court can exercise personal jurisdiction over out-of-state plaintiffs who want to opt-in into a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania just issued a ruling siding with those courts that have minimized the number of members in a collective action, ruling that it lacked specific jurisdiction over FLSA claims of out-of-state opt-in plaintiffs who were not harmed in Pennsylvania. The August 12 decision in Weirbach v. The Cellecular Connection, LLC, is an important one, as it provides added support to employers looking to break up a putative collective and reduce their potential legal exposure.

Two recent USDOL opinion letters examine the contours of the FLSA's “outside salesman” exemption, providing helpful information to employers regarding an exemption that may appear simple and straightforward at first glance.

USDOL announced that, effective July 1, it will not seek liquidated damages in FLSA investigations as a matter of course.

Second Circuit rejected plaintiffs’ attempt to let a few anomalous weeks tarnish the proper use of the FLSA's fluctuating workweek, and, in doing so, handed employers a useful defense tool in these and similar cases.

USDOL’s final rule recognizes that employees paid under the FLSA’s fluctuating workweek method can receive commissions, weekend pay, etc. – with some caveats.

USDOL's Wage and Hour Division has clarified an aspect of the FLSA's 7(i) exemption and simultaneously reminded all that the principles, not lists and examples, control.

In a much-anticipated decision, a federal appeals court just ruled that Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims resolved through Rule 68(a) offers of judgment do not require fairness review and judicial approval. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals’ December 6, 2019 decision is a critical ruling for employers seeking to resolve lawsuits filed under federal wage and hour law, providing a much clearer path for resolution (Yu v. Hasaki Restaurant, Inc). 

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