Class Counsel Blog

Showing 16 posts in Labor and Employment.

DOL Proposes New Requirement That Workers Earn At Least $50,440 Per Year To Qualify For White Collar Exemptions

On June 30, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released its long awaited proposed rule changes to the “white collar” overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  Although the DOL previously indicated they would simplify the FLSA’s often difficult to administer “duties test,” the DOL so far has left that test untouched.  Instead, the DOL proposes to raise the salary level from which an employee can qualify for a “white collar” exemption from overtime pay requirements from $23,660 per year to approximately $50,440 per year.  The DOL predicts this will cause employers to change the exempt status of nearly 5 million workers who are currently exempt from overtime requirements to non-exempt status – requiring the payment of overtime.  The proposed rule still needs to undergo a public comment period before it can be implemented as a final rule.  Read More ›

Law Firm Hit with Class Action Suit After Failing to Pay Employees

After closing its doors due to financial difficulties, a large mortgage foreclosure firm was hit with a class action lawsuit for failing to pay its employees for over three weeks of work. Read More ›

Supreme Court Denies Review of Killion v. KeHE Distributors, Leaving The Sixth Circuit Alone In Refusing to Enforce FLSA Collective Action Waivers

On April 6, 2015, the United States Supreme Court declined to review the Sixth Circuit’s opinion in Killion et al. v. KeHE Distributors, LLC, 761 F.3d 574 (6th Cir. 2014), in which the Sixth Circuit refused to enforce Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action waivers.  Distinguishing itself from every other Circuit that has addressed FLSA collective action waivers, the Sixth Circuit held that employees may only agree to waive their right to participate in a collective-action so long as they retain the right to individually arbitrate their FLSA claims.  Read More ›

Recent DOL and EEOC Class Based Actions At A Glance

Recently, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) announced that it had recovered more than $240 million dollars in back wages for more than 270,000 workers in 2014.  Although this amount is slightly down from 2013’s $249 million recovery; since 2009 the WHD has recovered more than $1.3 billion in back wages for 1.5 million workers.  The WHD attributes much of this success to its strategic enforcement initiatives that have targeted specific types of working relationships and industries.   Read More ›

Plaintiffs beware: Courts may tax costs upon non-prevailing plaintiffs in FLSA collective actions

In Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) collective actions it is not uncommon for plaintiffs to file motions for conditional certification of an opt-in class early in the litigation, many times with the Complaint.  Courts frequently grant such motions and order class notice to issue before discovery has taken place.  Defendants usually seek to include language in the notice that informs potential opt-in plaintiffs that if they lose they may be liable for the defendant’s costs (not including attorney’s fees).  The Western District of Pennsylvania gave defendants some additional ammunition in negotiating these notices, by awarding the prevailing defendants over $60,000 in costs.  Read More ›

Court Rules Ohio Constitution’s Minimum Wage Provision Creates Vehicle for Rule 23 Class-Action Lawsuits, Opt-In Not Required

In Brenneman v. Cincinnati Bengals, Inc., No. 1:14-CV-136, 2014 WL 5448864 (S.D. Ohio Oct. 24, 2014), the Plaintiff, a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader, filed a class and collective action alleging the Bengals paid her less than the minimum wage. She asserted claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), Article II § 34a of the Ohio Constitution known as the Ohio Fair Minimum Wage Amendment, and the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act, Ohio Rev. Code 4111.14. Plaintiff filed her Ohio law claims as a class action under Federal Rule 23.  The Bengals moved to dismiss the Constitutional claim, arguing that the Plaintiff could not proceed directly under the Constitution but had to proceed under the implementing legislation, R.C. 4111.14. The Bengals also moved to dismiss the Rule 23 class claims because the implementing provision of the Minimum Wage Amendment provided for only opt-in collective actions for minimum wage violations.  The Court denied the Bengals’ motion to dismiss, effectively concluding that Ohio law permits employees alleging minimum wage violations to proceed with an opt-in collective action under the statute or an opt-out class action under the Constitution. Read More ›

When are McDonald’s Uniformed Shift Workers Similarly Situated? Court Denies Motion for Conditional Certification in FLSA Litigation

In Pullen v. McDonald's Corp., Nos. 14-11081, 14-11082, 2014 WL 4610296 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 15, 2014), two groups of plaintiffs filed collective action lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FSLA”) against different owners and operators of McDonald’s restaurants. The Court denied motions for certification. Read More ›

Are You Ready for Some Football, er ... Class Actions??? The Rise of Misclassification Class and Collective Actions

The NFL and NFL teams have come under heavy fire recently for their handling of domestic violence issues, while accusations about the treatment of NFL cheerleaders are flying under the radar, at least by comparison. Over the past year, several cheerleaders have filed class and collective actions against NFL teams alleging they were misclassified as non-employee volunteers and were consequently not paid minimum wage and overtime.  Across the country, class and collective actions based on worker misclassification claims are on the rise.  While much attention has been paid to actions involving the classification of employees under the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (“FLSA”) “white collar” exemptions, there has also been a dramatic increase in the number of class and collective actions involving misclassification of volunteers, interns, and independent contractors.  These class and collective actions threaten to change how several industries currently operate – just ask the Oakland Raiders. Read More ›

Ninth Circuit Ruling On Independent Contractors Could Have Damaging Consequences for Businesses

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a class of FedEx delivery drivers were employees, not independent contractors.  The ruling, if upheld, could have significant consequences for the logistics company.  Indeed, Circuit Judge Stephen Trott claimed in his concurrence that the decision “substantially unravels FedEx’s business model.” Read More ›

National Labor Relations Board Continues to Reject Class Waivers Despite Contrary Circuit Court Decisions

This Tuesday, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge held that UnitedHealth Group Inc. could not enforce an arbitration agreement to prevent employees from litigating a class action in federal district court that arose out of UnitedHealth’s alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Read More ›

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Attorney Spotlight

Stephen E. Embry is a member of the Firm's class action, privacy and mass tort groups. He frequently defends participants in consumer class actions and mass tort litigation. Stephen is a national litigator and advisor who is experienced in developing solutions to complex litigation and corporate problems.