In late March, the Trump administration backed off from a proposal that would have effectively given restaurants and other employers the legal right to pocket workers' tips. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the proposed rule change last December, saying it would give employers the "freedom to share tips between traditionally tipped and non-tipped workers." It would have rolled back regulations introduced in 2011 by the Obama administration that barred employers from redistributing tips to anyone other than the employees who would normally receive them.
The White House today issued a blockbuster set of changes to the overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) that will allow far more middle-class workers to earn time-and-a-half. The Final Rule doubles the standard salary floor for exempt workers, establishes automatic increases of that floor every three years, and sets a higher salary threshold for "highly compensated individuals" who are generally exempt under the 2004 rules.
The Second Circuit yesterday filed an amended opinion in the Fox Searchlight Black Swan unpaid-intern case (a case filed by Outten & Golden). In response to a petition for rehearing, the panel upholds its original decision - vacating class certification and partial summary judgment for the class - yet made significant changes to its original reasoning that will enable unpaid-intern cases to proceed.
The defense bar has been so high on its success in defeating the Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes class action last spring that its lawyers fanned out across the county, trying to persuade judges everywhere that the era of employment class actions was over. Yet the Seventh Circuit held against this tide, affirming certification of an Illinois state-law Rule 23 class action in a wage-and-hour case, finding that the conditions of Rule 23(c)(1)(B) were met.
For the third time, a New York federal district court has conditionally certified a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action on behalf of Duane Reade assistant store managers. On January 27, 2012, the Court issued an order in Jacob v. Duane Reade Inc., 10 Civ. 160 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 27, 2012) that allows FLSA notice to issue to all assistant store managers who worked at Duane Reade between January 7, 2009 and the January 27, 2012.
Novartis agreed to pay $99 million to settle the claims of a class of its pharmaceutical sales representatives ("pharma reps") who alleged that they were denied overtime pay. See In re Novartis Wage & Hour Litig., No. 06 md 01784 (S.D.N.Y.). District Judge Paul Crotty of the Southern District of New York gave preliminary approval to the proposed settlement on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. The final approval hearing will take place on May 31, 2012.
A recent case out of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, Raniere v. Citigroup Inc., No. 11 Civ. 2448, 2011 WL 5881926 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 22, 2011), holds that FLSA collective action waivers are unenforceable--as a matter of law. This a groundbreaking decision that offers a roadmap for defeating collective action waivers in the wake of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011).