Law and the Workplace

Category Archives: Wage and Hour

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DOL and Liquidated Damages: The Breakup Only Lasted 9 Months

On April 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded the Trump-era enforcement practice of abstaining from seeking liquidated damages in connection with pre-litigation investigations and settlements of wage and hour claims.  In Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2021-2, issued by the Wage and Hour Division’s Principal Deputy Administrator, Jessica Looman, the agency announced that … Continue Reading

Business Groups Challenge Biden Administration’s Delay of Trump-era Independent Contractor Rule

In a complaint filed on March 26, 2021, business groups challenged a U.S. Department of Labor March 4, 2021 final rule to delay the effective date of the Trump-era regulation on independent contractor classification.  As we previously reported, that Trump-era rule, which was finalized two weeks before President Biden took office, was initially scheduled to … Continue Reading

Biden Administration Wage and Hour Update:  50 Days In…

We’re 50 days into the Biden administration.  Here’s an update on where things stand with respect to wage and hour law at the federal level: On March 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD)—as expected—announced its proposals to rescind the Trump-era rules on independent contractor classification and joint employment. WHD’s … Continue Reading

DOL Takes First Step to Revisit Independent Contractor and Tip Rules

In accordance with the Biden administration’s January 20 regulatory freeze memorandum, the U.S Department of Labor issued proposals to delay the effective dates of the Final Rules on independent contractor classification and tip regulations by 60 days, to allow the agency “the opportunity to review and consider the questions of law, policy, and fact raised … Continue Reading

DOL Ends PAID Program

On January 29, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it was discontinuing the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (“PAID”) program, effective immediately.  Under the program, which began in 2018, employers could self-report wage and hour violations to the DOL with the promise that the agency would supervise a settlement of the violations without seeking liquidated … Continue Reading

DOL Begins Withdrawal of Trump-Era Opinion Letters

As expected, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced the withdrawal of three opinion letters issued in the waning days of the Trump administration.  The opinion letters being withdrawn are: FLSA2021-4, which addressed whether a restaurant may institute a tip pool under the Fair Labor Standards Act that includes both servers, … Continue Reading

Biden DOL Tosses Trump-Era “PRO Good Guidance Rule”

As expected, one of the first orders of business from the U.S. Department of Labor under the Biden administration was to scrap the 2020 “PRO Good Guidance Rule,” which imposed heightened burdens on the agency in connection with issuing guidance. The rule, issued last August in response to Trump’s Executive Order 13891—which directed federal agencies … Continue Reading

White House “Regulatory Freeze” Memo Dooms DOL Independent Contractor Rule

As expected, the White House issued a memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies within the first few hours after President Biden’s inauguration on January 20, requesting that they halt all non-emergency rulemaking and regulatory activity pending review by the new administration. The memo asks the executive agencies, which include the U.S. … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Opinion Letters on Administrative Exemption and Ministerial Exception

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued two new opinion letters on January 8, 2021, bringing the number of “lame duck” wage and hour opinion letters—issued since Election Day 2020—to six. In FLSA2021-1, WHD determined that account managers at a life sciences manufacturer qualify for the FLSA’s administrative exemption.  The account … Continue Reading

Trump DOL Issues Two More “Lame Duck” Opinion Letters, on Home-to-Office Travel Time and Live-In Caregivers

On December 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued two opinion letters—one on home-to-office travel time and one on live-in caregivers.  Such “lame duck” opinion letters—issued post-Election Day when there is a change in both administration and political party—were at one point in recent memory quite uncommon.  The Carter … Continue Reading

DOL’s New Opinion Letters Examine Rules on Voluntary Training Time, Travel Time

On November 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) issued new opinion letters addressing the compensability of time spent by employees attending voluntary training programs and in work-related travel. The rules at issue only apply to non-exempt (e.g., overtime-eligible) employees.  If the time is considered “hours worked” under the FLSA, … Continue Reading

[Podcast]: DOL’s Proposed Rule on Independent Contractors

In this episode of The Proskauer Brief, partners Harris Mufson and Allan Bloom discuss the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed new rule on independent contractor classification.  In recent years, the misclassification of workers as independent contractors has been the subject of a number of private lawsuits and investigations by government agencies.  This is true for traditional industries and … Continue Reading

DOL Reiterates That Hours Need Not Fluctuate Above and Below 40 in Fluctuating Workweek Method of Pay

SchedulingIn an opinion letter issued on August 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor restated its position that an employee’s hours need not fluctuate above and below 40 hours to qualify for the fluctuating workweek (“FWW”) method of calculating overtime pay in 29 C.F.R. § 778.114. Under the FWW method of pay, an overtime-eligible employee … Continue Reading

DOL Announces Substantial Changes to Guidance Practices

On August 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published in the Federal Register a final rule that substantially revises its practices with respect to guidance documents.  The “Promoting Regulatory Openness through Good Guidance Rule,” referred to as the “PRO Good Guidance Rule,” implements President Trump’s Executive Order 13891, which directed federal agencies to … Continue Reading

DOL Guidance Reminds Employers of Obligations to Track and Pay For Remote Work

On August 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (“FAB”) providing guidance on employers’ obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to track and pay for the hours of compensable work performed by employees who are working remotely.  While timely in light of the … Continue Reading

DOL Releases Additional COVID-19 Guidance Related to FFCRA, FMLA and FLSA

As we have previously reported, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) continues to update its COVID-19 guidance. Most recently, on July 20, 2020, the DOL issued additional Q and A guidance related to COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response … Continue Reading

DOL To Refrain From Seeking Liquidated Damages in Most Pre-Litigation Settlements

SchedulingEffective July 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will pull back on seeking liquidated damages in pre-litigation settlements of wage claims and investigations.  The change in policy, announced in Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-2, is significant, as liquidated damages can equal 100% of the back pay deemed to be owing, potentially resulting in “double … Continue Reading

Wage and Hour Division Modifies Rules For FLSA’s Retail Sales Exemption

On May 19, 2020, the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) implemented a final rule withdrawing partial lists of establishments that it previously interpreted as either having “no retail concept” or possibly having a retail concept for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) Section 7(i) overtime exemption for commissioned … Continue Reading

SJC Finds Commissions Lost Due to Retaliation Are Subject to Trebling

In a February 12, 2020 decision, Parker v. EnerNOC, Inc., SJC-12703, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the full commission which would have been due to an employee had she not been retaliated against and terminated is a “lost wage” eligible to be trebled under the Wage Act. While employed by EnerNOC, the plaintiff … Continue Reading

Sweeping Changes Coming to Colorado Wage and Hour and Vacation Pay Rules

State of Colorado Seal**Update: The Department has adopted the regulations as of January 22, 2020.  You can read more about the final adoption here.** The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (the “Department”) has published proposed regulations that would make significant changes to the state’s wage and hour laws. The proposed provisions, collectively termed the Colorado Overtime & … Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Offers of Judgment on FLSA Claims Do Not Require Cheeks Review

On December 6, 2019, a divided Second Circuit panel concluded that settlement proposals in accepted offers of judgment under FRCP 68 are not subject to judicial review and approval.  Mei Xing Yu et al. v. Hasaki Restaurant Inc., No. 17-3888 (2d Cir. Dec. 6, 2019).  The decision departs from the conventional view that settlements of … Continue Reading
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