Category Archives: Wage & Hour

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Generic, All-Encompassing Employment Releases May Not Actually Release All Employment-Related Claims, Including FLSA Claims

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes federal courts sitting in Texas, recently held that a generic, broad state court settlement release did not bar two former employees’ subsequent unpaid overtime compensation claims against their former employer, even though the parties discussed the topic of unpaid wages during settlement negotiations and the release specifically … Continue reading this entry

DOL Issues Proposed Changes to Threshold of Salary Basis Test - $970/week from $455/week

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor issued proposed revisions to the minimum salary level that an employer must pay for an employee to be considered exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These long awaited revisions would, according to DOL estimates, increase overtime eligibility for approximately 4.6 million employees who are currently classified as exempt. Under … Continue reading this entry

Don’t be like Donald Sterling: Pay Your Interns

The Donald Sterling saga continues to teach employers—by way of bad example—important lessons for managing employees. While Sterling’s racist comments and desperate attempts to retain ownership of the L.A. Clippers continue to grab headlines, employers who hire unpaid interns may be facing a lawsuit similar to a less publicized lawsuit filed yesterday against the beleaguered … Continue reading this entry

Discounted Damages Through Fluctuating Work Week

Wage and hour litigation has been on a meteoric rise and is unlikely to slow in 2014. Nationally, employers paid over $245 million in 2013 to resolve wage and hour cases. In Texas, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cases continue to be among the most commonly filed in federal courts. Many of these cases allege … Continue reading this entry

UPDATE: Changes to FLSA Exemptions

As announced by the White House this week, President Obama directed the Department of Labor to update the regulations on the white-collar exemptions.  Specifically, the President instructed the Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to update the regulations.  The President’s point was that the minimum salary requirements had only been raised once since 1975, and that … Continue reading this entry

Obama Proposes Sweeping Changes to FLSA Exemptions

A few weeks ago, President Obama issued an Executive Order raising the minimum wage for workers on new federal contractors from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. That measure was designed to build momentum for a minimum wage increase for the private sector as well. Now, President Obama has announced he will direct the … Continue reading this entry

Automatic Tipping: Impact of IRS Rules Change on the Hospitality Industry

By Jessica Glatzer Mason and Tax Partner Michael J. Donohue In 2014, restaurants and other employers in the hospitality industry will be subject to new IRS reporting and withholding rules relating to automatic tips charged to large groups of patrons. Background. Employees are required to report cash “tips” of $20 or more to their employer … Continue reading this entry

5th Circuit Rejects NLRB's Position on Class/Collective Action Waivers

On December 3, 2013, in a landmark decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (“Fifth Circuit”) in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, rejected the argument that the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) banned class and collective action waivers in employment arbitration agreements.  This decision overturned the National Labor Relations … Continue reading this entry

Avoid Investigations Through Labor Law Compliance

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division has set its aim – with ample ammunition – on the restaurant industry. Focusing on overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping violations, the enforcement initiative has recovered millions of dollars in back wages and penalties from restaurants throughout the country. In a stated effort to protect the … Continue reading this entry

Genesis Health Care Corp. v. Symczyk--A Magic Bullet for FLSA Class Actions?

On April 16, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a defendant employer’s settlement offer to a plaintiff mooted the plaintiff’s claim and prevented her from leading a collective action for unpaid wages.  The controversial ruling by a sharply divided Court suggests employers may be able to avoid collective actions under the … Continue reading this entry

DOL Focuses on Rulemaking Agenda - What does this mean?

On February 13, 2012, Labor Solicitor M. Patricia Smith spoke at a seminar at the Practising Law Institute.  She stated that the DOL was focused on aggressively making rules rather than issuing guidance.  As an example, the DOL proposed new rules which would all but eliminate the “companionship services” exemption.  The proposal would give most … Continue reading this entry

Roundtable Sparks FLSA Discussion

On January 25, 2012, Gardere’s Employment Attorneys hosted a roundtable for its Senior HR Executive and In-House Counsel clients.  The discussion centered around their most significant employment challenges in 2012.  Among the topics discussed were dealing with off the clock work which continues to be an area of significant risk to many employers.  Gardere attorneys … Continue reading this entry

DOL Wage and Hour App

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the launch of its first application for smartphones, a timesheet to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Available in English and Spanish, users conveniently can track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. … Continue reading this entry

2011 HR Resolutions

As you start making your 2011 HR/Employment Law checklist, here are some items to consider: 1) Independent contractors. Employers remain well advised to closely review their use of independent contractors and ensure that the individuals are truly contractors. This matter remains high on the DOL and IRS watch lists.… Continue reading this entry

Emotional Distress & Punitive Damages Unvailable in FLSA Retaliation Claims

The FLSA imposes minimum labor standards upon employers, including the payment of a minimum wage and overtime pay for covered employees. In order to facilitate enforcement, the FLSA includes an anti-retaliation provision which makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee who complains of wage and … Continue reading this entry

Caveat Employer: Beware Texas Courts' Differing Approaches to Calculating Damages in Misclassification Suits

When an employer fails to pay overtime compensation to an employee who was misclassified as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”), the damage award can be extremely large.  There are two different methods of calculating how much the employer owes, and Texas courts disagree as to which is the proper approach.  This … Continue reading this entry