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The Modern Workplace

The Modern Workplace

Posts in Department of Labor.

The new federal administration continues to put its stamp on the development and enforcement of wage and hour laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Recently, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new Field Assistance Bulletin (Bulletin 2021), revoking a Trump administration policy relating to the practice of seeking liquidated damages in pre-litigation settlement discussions.

Employers who violate the FLSA provisions relating to minimum wage, overtime compensation, and protections for tipped employees, are liable for the unpaid wages or tips as well as an equal ...

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As the number of people working remotely decreases while employees start returning to their places of employment, or decide to make home their permanent office, a refresher on the requirements around the compensability of travel time to and from the workplace could prove helpful.

The general rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is that employees must be compensated whenever they are working. However, pursuant to the Portal-to-Portal Act, time spent traveling to and from the actual place where the employee performs his or her principal activities, or “commuting ...

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On May 18, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) implemented a final rule arguably giving employers more flexibility in the retail and service industries to exempt certain employees from overtime pay requirements. 

Generally, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employers pay employees at an overtime rate for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, unless the employees are exempt under Sections 7 or 13 of the statute. One of these exemptions applies to employees who work for a retail or service establishment if: (i) the employees regular rate of pay ...

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On January 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its final rule regarding joint-employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal wage and hour law. This final rule provides a more employer-friendly joint employer liability standard than previous guidance issued by the DOL under the Obama administration.


In recent years, many employment lawsuits have been brought against entities that do not technically employ the workers bringing the employment-related claims, but may exert some level of control or influence over their employment (such as ...
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As Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaches, companies often look for ways to contribute to charitable causes within their communities. One way they might accomplish this worthwhile endeavor is by creating and encouraging their employees to participate in formal volunteer opportunities. This is a great way for companies to give back and for individual employees to take a break from the rigors of everyday business life and focus on helping others. Whether employees should be compensated for participating in these volunteer activities, however, is not always clear, and if ...
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If you are an FMLA-covered employer or you conduct employment-related background checks, youll want to take note that federal agencies have issued updated forms that may need to be incorporated into your practices. In September 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued new model Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) certification forms and, that same month, the federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) updated its Summary of Rights form for use in conducting background checks falling under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).



New Model FMLA Certification ...
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On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new pilot program, the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program. The PAID program encourages employers to self-report inadvertent overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the DOL, the program's primary objectives are to resolve such claims expeditiously and without litigation, to improve employers' compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations, and to ensure that more employees receive the back wages they are owedfaster.


The estimated ...
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The saga of a 2016 Obama administration federal rule, issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), has taken a somewhat surprising turn. The 2016 rule, which was scheduled to be effective December 1, 2016, would have greatly increased the weekly salary threshold for white collar overtime pay exemptions. The federal Department of Labor (DOL) recently filed an appeal in a Texas federal court lawsuit, challenging an August decision by the district court judge that effectively invalidated the Obama administration rule.
We have previously posted several times about the 2016 ...
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Last Thursday, August 31, 2017, a federal district court judge in Texas struck down the Obama administrations long-embattled federal overtime pay rule. The rule would have more than doubled the minimum weekly salary required to qualify for the federal Fair Labor Standards Acts (FLSA) white collar exemptions (from $455 per week to $913 per week). The rule was originally scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016, but the same Texas-based judge enjoined its implementation late last year.
As a quick refresher, the FLSA requires non-exempt employees to receive no less than the ...
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On June 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) filed a brief with the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of its appeal of a lower court ruling that enjoined implementation of its 2016 overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Had the rule gone into effect when scheduled on December 1, 2016, it would have raised the minimum salary threshold for white collar exempt employees from $455 per week to $913 per week. Under the new Trump administration, the DOL informed the appellate court that it plans to revise the overtime rule that was issued during the Obama ...
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Just days after withdrawing some of its guidance on joint employer and independent contractor issues, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) indicated it will soon reconsider the much maligned Persuader Rule and white-collar Overtime Rule that were both enjoined last fall. The DOL wants to rescind the Persuader Rule and plans to seek additional public comment on the white-collar salary thresholds set forth in the Overtime Rules.
As a reminder, the Persuader Rule would have required employers to publicly disclose when they use consultants (including lawyers) to obtain labor relations ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has withdrawn two informal regulatory interpretations, issued in 2015 and 2016, on the subjects of joint employer and independent contractor liability of employers. (See our previous blog posts about the related risks for employers, available here.)
 
The DOLs announcement this week appears to signal a major course reversal in the wage and hour arena, particularly from 2016 when its Wage & Hour Division had made joint employment a major focus. This is likely true even though the DOL said, in announcing the withdrawal: Removal of the two administrator ...
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On Thursday of last week, the U.S. Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta as the 27th Secretary of Labor, filling the final open seat in President Donald Trumps cabinet. With its secretary in place, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will now be able to move forward with decisions on two major rule-making issues.

The most widely watched decision to be made by the DOL is whether to defend or abandon the Obama Administrations FLSA rule that would, if effective, significantly increase the minimum salary required for white collar exempt employees. As we reported earlier, that rule was blocked by ...

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Since the days of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States has closely tracked a new presidents first 100 days in office. Here at Gray Plant Mooty, our employment and labor law teams have been monitoring and will continue to track activity by the Trump administration in the employment and benefits law area. This alert is the first in what we intend to be a series of updates to our employer clients on key developments during the first 100 days.
 
Department of Labor Developments
When President Trump was elected in November 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) was fighting ...
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For those in the employment law and human resources fields, there are lots of moving targets to track this holiday season. Two of those moving targets include the temporary block placed on the U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) new federal overtime rules and a pending legal challenge to a new OSHA rule.

DOL Overtime Rule

As discussed in our post last week, a federal district court in Texas has issued a nationwide injunction blocking implementation of the new DOL overtime rules that were set to go into effect on December 1st. Yesterday, the DOL appealed the district courts ruling to the U.S ...

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As we let you know last week, legal challenges to the new federal overtime pay rules scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016, are pending in federal district court in Texas. On November 22, 2016, the Judge hearing the Texas cases issued a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing and enforcing the new rules. As such, employers who were busily preparing to comply with those rules have a reprieve at least for now- from having to comply.

In his decision, Texas Judge Mazzant concluded that the plaintiffs established a prima facie ...

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In the aftermath of President-elect Trumps victory, many employers are wondering how the president-elects priorities will impact their employment and labor law obligations. One immediate question on employers minds is whether they still must comply with the Obama administrations new federal overtime pay rules set to go into effect on December 1, 2016. It is highly unlikely that there will be any activity related to these rules by President-elect Trump prior to the December 1 deadline, although a later retraction or retrenchment of the rules is certainly possible. Employers ...

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The White House has detailed a broad series of new administrative steps in response to an earlier Executive Order calling for actions that enhance competition to benefit consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs. The White House described these steps as consistent with the continuing effort of the administration to find ways to increase job growth and reduce income inequality across the country. Although the new administrative steps do not include new prohibitions and generally do not require immediate action, the steps do raise the possibility of near-term legislative and ...

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We have previously blogged (here and here) about the expanding risks of joint employer liability under various employment laws, most prominently the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Recent developments underline just how prominent these risks are becoming for many businesses, including traditional employers, staffing and temp agencies, and franchised companies.
The U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) Wage and Hour Division recently announced it has obtained a federal court consent judgment and order of $1.4 million jointly against United Plastics ...
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*In honor of the Fair Labor Standard Acts 78th birthday and in light of the important changes to the DOL overtime regulations going into effect December 1, 2016, the Modern Workplace is running a special multipart series entitled FLSA Fundamentals. The series has covered some basics of this important law and includes a discussion of the DOLs new regulations. This is the fourth post in that series.*
 
As discussed in previous posts, determining the proper FLSA classification of an employee can be taxing. In addition to the white collar exemptions (e.g. Executive Employees
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Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the long-awaited Final Rule on white collar exemptions which will go into effect December 1, 2016. The Final Rule significantly increases the minimum weekly salary amounts required for most exempt employee statuses and also increases the total annual compensation amount for the exempt category of highly compensated employees.
 
While the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires most employers to pay mandatory minimum wages and overtime pay to employees, certain employees are exempt. These exemptions generally require ...
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*In honor of the Fair Labor Standard Acts 78th birthday and the highly anticipated changes to the DOL overtime regulations, the Modern Workplace is running a special multipart series entitled FLSA Fundamentals which will cover the basics of this important law and culminate in a discussion of the final changes to the regulation upon their release. This is the third post in that series.*
 
Given the time-intensive and nuanced analysis involved in calculating hours worked by non-exempt employees, compensable and non-compensable working time, and the regular rate of pay, many employers ...
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*In honor of the Fair Labor Standard Acts 78th birthday and the highly anticipated changes to the DOL overtime regulations, the Modern Workplace is running a special multipart series entitled FLSA Fundamentals which will cover the basics of this important law and end with a discussion of the final changes to the regulation upon their release.*
As most employers are well aware, employees who are classified as non-exempt under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half their regular hourly rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 ...
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Wage and hour issues heated up earlier this year when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule that would more than double the salary threshold for employees to be classified as exempt under the "white collar" exemptions to the federal overtime requirements. You can read our post from July of this year to learn more about the proposed rule, which would raise the minimum weekly salary requirement for the white collar exemptions from $455 per week to $970 per week.

The increased salary issue was expected to reach the boiling point with the release of the final DOL rule in ...

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As anticipated, President Barack Obama celebrated Labor Day by issuing an executive order mandating that federal contractors provide paid sick leave to their employees. The executive order requires that federal contractors and subcontractors provide their employees up to seven days of paid leave per year for themselves, to care for a sick family member, or to address domestic violence and stalking situations.

President Obamas order is the latest in a series of executive orders aimed at federal contractors as the administration tries, so far unsuccessfully, to get broader ...
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Third party employers of home companionship or care workers may soon be required to pay those workers overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling upholding the U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) Final Rule on the Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act to Domestic Service (the Final Rule). As a result, domestic service workers employed by third parties may soon be subject to FLSA overtime pay requirements.

The Final Rule
 
The DOLs Final Rule was issued some time ago and ...
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Continuing his pen and phone approach to effecting change, The New York Times announced last week that President Obama is considering using his executive authority to mandate paid sick days for federal government contractors and subcontractors.

The draft executive order, which is marked pre-decisional and deliberative, would require a minimum of 56 hours (or seven work days) per year of paid sick leave for employees of federal contractors and subcontractors. Under the draft executive order, the paid sick leave would allow an employee to take paid time off to care for themselves or a ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) yesterday issued Administrators Interpretation 2015-1, providing guidance on the classification of employees and independent contractors. The DOL identifies the misclassification of employees as independent contractors as a high priority enforcement issue, labeling it one of the most serious problems facing affected workers, employers, and the entire economy. The DOLs guidance is intended to help employers in classifying workers and to curtail misclassification.

The fifteen page document outlines the familiar multi-factor economic ...
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On July 6th, the federal Department of Labor initiated a rule-making process designed to significantly increase pay for white collar managers, administrators and professionals by more than doubling the salary an employer is required to pay to classify them as exempt from overtime requirements.  Estimates are that the change could result in employers being required to pay overtime to some 4.6 million workers who are currently classified as exempt from the overtime rule. The rule, as proposed, would also mean that employers would have to re-examine the overtime exemption for ...
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If you do business with the federal government, chances are that you're feeling weighed down by the various new requirements placed on you over the past year. We've discussed these requirements in past posts here and here. That's why you may be surprised to hear that the US Department of Labor's Veteran Employment and Training Service (VETS) published a final rule last week that actually makes something easier for federal contractors. The rule modifies and simplifies the reporting requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans' adjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) for federal ...

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Its been an interesting week on the wage and hour legal front. One of the big names in social networking, LinkedIn, made headlines this week when the U.S. Department of Labor announced a settlement of allegations that LinkedIn failed to properly record, account for, and pay certain employees for all of their hours worked. You can read the link below for lessons learned from this settlement. In other news, a federal judge ruled that critical federal government employees who worked during last year's government shutdown may be owed additional pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act ...

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While union membership has declined precipitously over the last few decades, union activity is now popping up in many new sectors.  From 1983 to 2013, according to the Department of Labor, union membership dropped from over 20% of the U.S. workforce to a little more than 11%. The public sector, particularly in the areas of education and protective services, still has the highest unionization rate.  In the private sector, the areas of utilities, transportation, and telecommunications represent the highest rates of unionization.

In recent years and months, however, we've seen a growth ...

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This week, Dropbox unveiled its new "Dropbox for Business" initiative, which gives employees a greater ability to establish digital work-life balance.  The product includes two data folders - one for business data and one for personal data so that businesses and workers have the ability to segregate digital work and personal data.  The Dropbox announcement came on the same day that Amazon unveiled a similar product. Airbnb also frequented the headlines this week, both for its new, streamlined app and for the scrutiny its vacation and home rental business is under from regulators.  ...

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 Health Exchange Notice Due to Employees by October 1

We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Obama Administration announced that the employer mandate under health care reform would be postponed until 2015.  (Although we cant help reminding employers that they need to be working toward compliance even now) Lately weve been hearing from employers wondering if they still have to provide exchange notices. Yes! The notice is still required, despite the delay in the employer mandate. Heres a refresher on what that entails.

What is the exchange notice?

The purpose of the notice ...
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Foreign nationals are often among the most highly-qualified applicants for permanent positions at colleges and universities in the United States.  In order to hire and retain foreign national candidates for permanent positions, colleges and universities need to follow a series of steps to assist the qualified foreign national candidate in obtaining work permission and, if desired, permanent residence status in the U.S. Permanent residence status confers on foreign nationals the right to live and work in the U.S. without time limitations.  One of the more common ways to obtain ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor has an app for that. On Monday, the DOL announced the launch of its DOL - Timesheet App, for iPhones (click here to download the app on iTunes). The application provides employees with an easy way to keep track of their working time. It also allows employees to add notes about time entries and easily export the entries. There's even a glossary with links to the DOL website, meant to educate employees about their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Here's what the DOL says about the use of the DOL - Timesheet App:

This new technology is significant because ...
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