Wage and Hour

Dismissing Non-Willful Claims Under the FLSA – the Second Circuit Rules on an Issue of First Impression

May 3, 2021

By Michael D. Billok

Everybody knows that the statute of limitations for claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is two years, unless the claim is for a willful FLSA violation, in which case the statute of limitations is three years. Okay, maybe everybody doesn’t know that—but attorneys who regularly bring or defend wage-and-hour claims certainly do (and if you’re reading this blog, you probably do as well). So an FLSA claim filed in 2021 based on allegations from 2017 can be easily dismissed at the outset of litigation, because such a claim is clearly beyond the longest possible statute of limitations of three years. Now, consider this: what if a plaintiff files a claim in May 2021, alleging an FLSA violation from June 2018? In that case, the only way the plaintiff can bring a valid FLSA claim is if the claim is willful, because then the plaintiff could utilize the three-year statute of limitations.

Read More >> Dismissing Non-Willful Claims Under the FLSA – the Second Circuit Rules on an Issue of First Impression

Updated Guidance Regarding Tax Credits Under the American Rescue Plan

April 28, 2021

By Hannah K. Redmond

Under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), certain private-sector and governmental employers may claim refundable tax credits which provide reimbursement for the cost of providing Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) style paid sick and family leave to employees, including leave for COVID-19 vaccination related reasons. The ARP does not require employers to provide paid leave; however, it provides tax credits for employers that voluntarily opt to do so. The tax credits are available to eligible employers who provide leave from April 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2021.

Read More >> Updated Guidance Regarding Tax Credits Under the American Rescue Plan

Pay Equity a Focus For Biden Administration in 2021

March 1, 2021

By Christa Richer Cook

In the wake of the social justice movements and a nationwide push towards greater equality, transparency, diversity and accountability, it is expected that pay equity will be a focus for the Biden administration in the coming year. Pay equity issues are gaining the attention of employees and, in turn, becoming of increasing concern for employers.

Read More >> Pay Equity a Focus For Biden Administration in 2021

U.S. Department of Labor Adopts Final Independent Contractor Status Regulations

January 13, 2021

By Paul J. Buehler III

On Jan. 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its final rule to revise and update its regulations regarding classification of employees vs. independent contractors. This determination of independent contractor status is critical to wage liability, as employees are generally guaranteed minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act—absent some exemption—while independent contractors are not.

Read More >> U.S. Department of Labor Adopts Final Independent Contractor Status Regulations

Reminder: New York Minimum Wage Rates and Salary Thresholds for the Executive and Administrative Exemptions Will Increase on December 31, 2020

December 11, 2020

By Subhash Viswanathan

Employers in New York will be required to comply with the new state minimum wage rates and the new state salary thresholds to qualify for the executive and administrative exemptions, effective December 31, 2020.

Read More >> Reminder: New York Minimum Wage Rates and Salary Thresholds for the Executive and Administrative Exemptions Will Increase on December 31, 2020

Federal Court in New York Strikes Down USDOL Regulation Concerning Joint Employment

September 17, 2020

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

Earlier this year, the United States Department of Labor (“USDOL”) issued new regulations regarding joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  Seventeen states (including New York) and the District of Columbia subsequently filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to challenge the USDOL’s adoption of its new joint employment regulations.  The Court recently issued a decision in that lawsuit, holding that the USDOL's joint employment regulations relating to vertical joint employer liability should be vacated because they conflict with the definitions contained in the FLSA and are arbitrary and capricious.

Read More >> Federal Court in New York Strikes Down USDOL Regulation Concerning Joint Employment

USDOL Issues Guidance on Tracking Compensable Hours of Remote Employees

September 9, 2020

By Hannah K. Redmond

On August 24, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance to assist employers in complying with their obligation to track compensable hours of employees working in remote or telework arrangements.  While this guidance was issued in response to the increase in remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it applies to all employees working remotely for any reason.

Read More >> USDOL Issues Guidance on Tracking Compensable Hours of Remote Employees

Positive Developments for New York Employers on the Use of the Fluctuating Workweek Method of Computing Overtime Compensation

June 24, 2020

By Subhash Viswanathan

On June 8, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final rule to provide some clarity for employers seeking to use the fluctuating workweek method of computing overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The final rule, which is essentially the same as the proposed rule that was issued on November 5, 2019, lists each of the five requirements for using the fluctuating workweek method separately and explicitly states that bonuses, premium payments, and other additional payments of any kind are compatible with the use of the fluctuating workweek method. The final rule becomes effective on August 7.

About one week after the USDOL's fluctuating workweek rule was issued, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (the Federal appellate court with jurisdiction over employers in New York) issued a decision in the case of Thomas et al. v. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. In the Bed Bath & Beyond case, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a collective action filed by a group of Department Managers who alleged that Bed Bath & Beyond had improperly used the fluctuating workweek method to pay them overtime.

Read More >> Positive Developments for New York Employers on the Use of the Fluctuating Workweek Method of Computing Overtime Compensation

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Recommendations for Employers

March 16, 2020

By Monica C. Barrett and Subhash Viswanathan

The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused severe disruption to many businesses across the country. Employers will be required to continue to monitor developments and adjust to changing circumstances in the coming weeks and possibly months. We provide the following recommendations for employers in dealing with the many employment-related issues that will inevitably arise.

Read More >> The COVID-19 Pandemic: Recommendations for Employers

U.S. Department of Labor Adopts Joint Employer Regulations

January 31, 2020

By Paul J. Buehler III

On January 16, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) published its final rule to revise and update its regulations regarding joint employer status.  The final rule largely adopts the proposed rule the DOL published in April of 2019, which we wrote about here.  The final regulations become effective March 16, 2020, and mark the first significant revision since they were enacted in 1958.  Employers should take note of these new regulations because if an employee is found to be jointly employed by two employers, both employers are jointly and severally liable for all wages owed to that employee, including overtime wages.

Read More >> U.S. Department of Labor Adopts Joint Employer Regulations

U.S. Department of Labor's Updated Regulations Clarify Exclusions From the Regular Rate

January 31, 2020

By Subhash Viswanathan

The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") recently issued updated regulations which clarify what types of compensation provided by employers can properly be excluded from the regular rate for overtime computation purposes.  The DOL's stated purpose in updating its regular rate regulations (which had not been significantly revised in more than 50 years) is to better reflect the 21st century workplace and to encourage employers to provide additional and innovative benefits to employees without fear that those forms of compensation might result in additional overtime obligations.  The updated regulations became effective on January 15, 2020.

Read More >> U.S. Department of Labor's Updated Regulations Clarify Exclusions From the Regular Rate

Reminder: New York Minimum Wage Rates and Salary Thresholds for the Executive and Administrative Exemptions Will Increase on December 31, 2019

December 26, 2019

By Subhash Viswanathan

Employers in New York will be required to comply with the new state minimum wage rates and the new state salary thresholds to qualify for the executive and administrative exemptions, effective December 31, 2019.

Read More >> Reminder: New York Minimum Wage Rates and Salary Thresholds for the Executive and Administrative Exemptions Will Increase on December 31, 2019