Employment Law Alerts

Supreme Court OK's Class Waivers in Employment Arbitration Agreements

Posted on May 21, 2018 at 3:05 PM

Topics: 2018, Arbitration, Wage and Hour, National Labor Relations Board

In a big win for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires courts to enforce mandatory arbitration agreements that contain class waiver provisions. This new decision in a trio of cases -- Epic Systems Corp., Murphy Oil USA Inc., and Ernst & Young LLP -- rejects the argument that class waivers violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because they interfere with the enforcement of employee rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act and related state wage and hour laws.

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Supreme Court Rejects Principle of Narrow Construction for FLSA Exemptions

Posted on April 12, 2018 at 10:53 AM

Topics: 2018, Wage and Hour

In a new decision, Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro et al., the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected over 50 years of precedent requiring FLSA exemptions to be narrowly construed against the employers seeking to assert them. Instead, the Court held that because the FLSA gives no textual indication that its exemptions should be construed narrowly, they should be given a “fair reading.” While the ruling determined that service advisers employed at car dealerships are exempt from overtime under the FLSA, the Court’s decision signals a far broader application of many FLSA exemptions.

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California Supreme Court Rules on How to Calculate Overtime on Flat Sum Bonuses

Posted on March 20, 2018 at 9:06 AM

Topics: 2018, Wage and Hour

In an employee-friendly decision, the California Supreme Court has ruled that when a nonexempt employee receives a nondiscretionary “flat sum bonus” covering a single pay period, the overtime rate is based on the employee’s regular, non-overtime hours in the pay period, rather than the total hours. The new case is Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. of California (S232607, March 5, 2018).

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Court Rules Grubhub Driver Was Independent Contractor; What's the Impact for the Gig Economy?

Posted on February 15, 2018 at 1:59 PM

Topics: 2018, Wage and Hour, Independent Contractors and Gig Economy

In a long-awaited decision, a federal district court in California has ruled that a driver for food delivery app Grubhub was an independent contractor and not an employee under California law. While the ruling in Lawson v. Grubhub, Inc. is expected to have an impact on other “gig economy” companies that offer customers an opportunity to connect with goods or services through smartphone apps, the case is not the last word on worker classification.

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California Supreme Court's "Day of Rest" Ruling Gives Relief to Employers

Posted on May 19, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Topics: 2017, Wage and Hour

The California Supreme Court has clarified a major point of ambiguity for employers by unanimously holding in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., SC S224611 (May 8, 2017), that California’s law requiring “one day’s rest” in seven looks only at the employer’s defined workweek and is not applied on a rolling basis to any seven-day consecutive period. This decision provides employers with more scheduling flexibility, as well as a compliance roadmap to California’s “day of rest” laws.

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Compliance Steps Under San Jose's "Opportunity to Work Ordinance"

Posted on March 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Topics: 2017, Wage and Hour

The City of San Jose’s new Opportunity to Work Ordinance (Measure E) took effect on March 13, 2017. The Ordinance requires employers with 36 or more employees to offer additional work hours to existing qualified part-time employees (non-exempt) before hiring new staff, although employers do not have to offer hours that would result in overtime or another premium rate. (See our January 6, 2017 Alert for more information on the Ordinance.)

The City’s Office of Equality Assurance (OEA), which enforces the Ordinance, has released Suggested Steps for Employers, which recommends a three-step process for compliance, including: 1) identifying the need for additional hours; 2) creating a process and timeline for offering additional hours opportunities; and 3) determining how to distribute the hours. Here are the details of the City’s recommendations:

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Employees Paid on Commission Are Entitled to Separate Compensation for Rest Periods

Posted on March 14, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Topics: 2017, Wage and Hour

In Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture LLC, B269657 (Feb. 28, 2017), a California Court of Appeals has ruled that employers must separately compensate commissioned employees for rest breaks. Here is an overview of the case and considerations for employers in light of this new decision.

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National Restaurant Association Asks Supreme Court to Weigh in on Tip Pools

Posted on January 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Topics: 2017, Wage and Hour

On Jan. 19, 2017, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) filed a petition that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether or not the Department of Labor (DOL) had the authority to issue a rule that prohibits kitchen employees who don’t customarily receive tips from participating in tip pools, whether or not the restaurant takes a tip credit. The NRA has stated that it expects that the Court will decide in about 30 days if it will hear this challenge to the DOL’s rule.

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California Supreme Court Rules Employees Must Be Off Duty During Rest Breaks; Action Steps for Employers

Posted on January 11, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Topics: 2017, Wage and Hour

The California Supreme Court has issued a new decision, Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., S224853 (Dec. 22, 2016), confirming that employers have the same obligations regarding rest breaks as they do regarding meal periods:  the employer must relieve the employee of all duties and relinquish any control.  Employers generally cannot require employees to remain on-duty or on-call during meal breaks, and likewise, they cannot require employees to be “on-duty” or “on-call” during rest periods.

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San Jose's New "Opportunity to Work Ordinance"; What Employers Need to Know

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Topics: 2017, Wage and Hour, Legislative Developments

San Jose voters recently passed Ballot Measure E, the “Opportunity to Work Ordinance.” The new Ordinance, which is similar to San Francisco’s existing Formula Retail Employees Ordinances, will require San Jose employers with 36 or more employees to offer additional work hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new staff.  The San Jose Ordinance is aimed at increasing wages for part-timers and preventing employers from hiring additional staff to avoid providing health care and other benefits to current part-time employees who could take on additional work hours.  The Ordinance takes effect on March 13, 2017.  Here’s an overview of what employers need to know.

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