The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a case on appeal from the Fourth Circuit involving the burden of proof required for an employer to show that an employee’s job position is exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The high court’s decision will have a notable impact on the ability of employers to defend misclassification claims brought under the FLSA.

While the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits have applied the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, the Fourth Circuit has repeatedly applied the notably higher “clear and convincing” standard, including most recently in Carrera v. EMD Sales, 75 F.4th 345 (4th Cir. Jul. 27, 2023). The Court agreed to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Carrera to resolve this split among the federal circuits on the appropriate burden of proof for FLSA exemptions.Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court agrees to resolve the split between the Circuits on the burden of proof for FLSA exemptions

On May 6, 2024, the California Supreme Court issued a significant ruling in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. (Case No. S279397). The decision provides much-needed clarity on California’s wage statement requirements and also held that employers can assert a good faith defense to wage statement claims under appropriate circumstances.

Labor Code section 226 states that California employers must provide employees with accurate itemized wage statements. Employees can seek statutory penalties if an employer fails to provide accurate itemized wage statements and such failure is “knowing and intentional”. (Lab. Code, section 226, subd. (e)(1).). While the statutory penalties are capped at $4,000 per employee (in addition to the employees’ associated attorneys’ fees and costs), the aggregated wage statement penalties can add up quickly in the class action context.Continue Reading Key victory for California employers: California Supreme Court accepts good faith defense to wage statement violations

On April 23, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final regulatory rule that will raise the minimum salary threshold for employees who are classified as “exempt” under the white-collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in two steps: first in July 1, 2024, and then again in January 1, 2025. The new rule also creates a mechanism for subsequent automatic increases every three years thereafter based on then-current economic data, with the next increase slated for July 1, 2027. 

This new rule comes after the DOL proposed these changes last year in August 2023. Under the FLSA and DOL regulations, for an employee to be properly classified as “exempt” from overtime, the employee must be paid at least the minimum salary threshold and the employee’s job position must also meet certain tests regarding their job duties (namely exemptions for job duties performed by executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees, commonly referred to as the “white collar” exemptions).Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor mandates two salary threshold increases for white collar FLSA exemptions and a mechanism for future automatic increases

California’s new law that creates a separate minimum wage applicable only to fast food restaurant employees took effect on April 1, 2024. Under Labor Code Section 1475 (LC 1475), this minimum wage is $20 per hour. It represents a significant increase from the current statewide minimum wage of $16 that went into effect at the beginning of the year. Many local jurisdictions within the state already have a minimum wage above $16 per hour, but none as high as $20 per hour. Continue Reading California’s new minimum wage for fast food restaurants took effect this month

On March 14, 2024, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoed identical bills passed by the Virginia legislature barring employers from asking about a job applicant’s salary history and requiring pay information to be included in job listings.

Senate Bill 370 and House Bill 990, introduced by Senator Jennifer Boysko (D) and Delegate Michelle Maldonado (D), respectively, add a new “salary history ban” statute to the Chapter of the Virginia Code that provides protections for employees. The legislation passed along party lines, with support from Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate.

The proposed legislation prohibits prospective employers from (i) asking job applicants for their wage or salary history; (ii) relying on that history in determining the applicant’s starting wage or salary; (iii) considering wage or salary history when making a hiring determination; and (iv) refusing to interview, hire, employ, promote, or otherwise retaliate against an applicant for not providing wage or salary history. It also requires prospective employers to disclose the wage, salary, or wage or salary range for public and internal job postings. The legislation also creates a cause of action for aggrieved applicants and employees and provides for statutory damages between $1,000 and $10,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, and other appropriate relief.Continue Reading Virginia governor vetoes “salary history ban” statute legislation

Following a number of other states, the District of Columbia Council passed The Wage Transparency Omnibus Amendment Act of 2023 (the 2023 Act), which was approved by Mayor Muriel Bowser on January 12, 2024, and is pending Congressional review. The 2023 Act amends the D.C. Wage and Transparency Act of 2014 (the 2014 Act) to compel openness in compensation by requiring employers to publish wage bands for advertised positions, prohibiting wage screening of applicants, and requiring disclosure of the existence of healthcare benefits prior to interviews.Continue Reading Show them the money: D.C. law to require employers to disclose compensation to job candidates

Employment legislation and litigation are often about trends. In the mid-to-late 2010’s, for instance, lawmakers across the U.S. enacted numerous bills concerning paid time off for employees, such as for sick and family leave. A more recent trend involves regulatory and legislative attempts to limit or even outright ban non-compete agreements.

In New York State, the unquestionable employment litigation trend over the past several years has revolved around frequency of pay claims under Section 191 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL). This trend was born out of a radical 2019 appellate court decision that broke from more than a century of judicial precedent.

As more fully discussed below, however, two recent developments – one legislative and one judicial – suggest that the flood of frequency of pay lawsuits may soon be a thing of the past.Continue Reading Are frequency of pay lawsuits in New York soon to be a thing of the past?

Governor Gavin Newsom signed S.B. 525 into law adding new minimum wage requirements to Sections 1182.14 and 1182.15 of the California Labor Code. These new sections establish five comprehensive minimum wage schedules for “covered health care employees”, which includes contracted and subcontracted employees. Effective June 1, 2024, “covered health care facilities” will be required to implement the applicable minimum wage schedule, depending on the nature of the employer, as set forth by the law. In general, the law preempts any local ordinances setting wages for healthcare workers. To determine the law’s applicability, health care providers across California must consider (1) whether they meet the definition of a “covered health care facility” and, if so, (2) who within their workforce meets the definition of a “covered health care employee”.Continue Reading California enacts increase in the minimum wage for covered health care employees

Over the past decade-plus, New York lawmakers have passed several laws intended to combat perceived wage theft across the Empire State. On September 6, 2023, lawmakers in Albany continued this trend by passing a bill that codifies wage theft as criminal larceny.

Specifically, the bill adds a new subsection to the New York Penal Law’s

In an opinion letter published this week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”) clarified how employers should calculate an employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave entitlement when the leave is taken during a week that includes a holiday.

The FMLA regulations are clear that when an employee takes a