In his newest Executive Order, Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, President Obama makes access to justice for workers a priority of his administration. Leading in the forum in which he has control-federal employees and companies that contract with the federal government-this the third pro-employee Order the President has signed this year. On July 21, 2014, President Obama banned federal contractors from discriminating against gay workers. Then, in January 2014, President Obama raised the minimum wage for new federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.
In his recent piece in Vice, former unpaid intern, Charles Davis, exposes the hypocrisy of liberal periodicals that write about labor exploitation but use unpaid interns to staff their newsrooms. According to Davis, even Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and advocate for low wage workers, claimed to have never thought about the issue of unpaid internships.
Here's a nice David-v.-Goliath case, where a nanny goes after her former employers for violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(a) and Florida, Fla. Const. Art. 10, § 24(e). Not only did the nanny prevail at trial (with a $33,025 jury verdict), but on appeal she wins the right to pursue double ("liquidated") damages, and an addition al year of lost wages, in a second trial.
This blog has recently discussed developments in a variety of wage-and-hour misclassification cases involving Audit Associates at Big Four accounting firms. There have been two more recent developments, both relating to one particular accounting firm's refusal to disclose information (in a case in which Outten & Golden serves as co-counsel). In back-to-back orders, a federal judge in New York ordered preservation of electronic data and disclosure of documents previously filed under seal.
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.
In a recent decision, Judge Wood distinguishes Supreme Court precedent to find an arbitration agreement that did not provide for class arbitration invalid under Second Circuit precedent because it foreclosed the exercise of statutory rights. Reaffirming her initial decision, Judge Wood determined defendant's reliance on the intervening decision of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion ("Concepcion") in seeking reconsideration was misplaced.
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.
On December 20, 2011, we reported here about developments in a variety of overtime cases involving audit associates at Big Four accountant firms, including a recent conditional certification of a collective action against Deloitte (our firm is co-counsel in that matter, http://www.deloitteovertimelawsuit.com/).
The Big Four accounting firms in the U.S. - KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Ernst & Young - retain cadres of unlicensed employees who work in high-pressure, entry-level positions variously titled "Associate," "Audit Associate," "Audit Assistant," "Advisory Associate," and "Unlicensed Associate." Their task is to execute transactions that are essentially rote and clerical. Yet the Big Four routinely classify these employees as "professional" or "administrative" to exempt them from overtime requirements under federal (Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA) and state law.