The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued three new opinion letters on overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Opinion letters cover specific fact situations presented by employers, workers or other parties and are only legally binding on the party who requested the letter. However, employers may be able to claim safe harbor if they rely on an official opinion letter.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt employees are entitled to the premium overtime rate of 1-1/2 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked past 40 in a single workweek. The regular rate of pay is determined by adding up all earnings, including non-discretionary bonuses and some other payments, and dividing by the number of hours worked.
The Trump administration's priority for the Department of Labor has been to eliminate regulations thought too costly for businesses to bear. In particular, the administration promised to change how wage and hour law is regulated in the U.S.
Some employees customarily receive tips, but those tips aren't always in addition to the worker's wage. Many tipped workers are minimum-wage earners, and the law allows some of those tips to be counted toward ensuring they earn that minimum wage.
In 2016, the Obama administration's Labor Department proposed a change to the overtime rule in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. That change would have increased the exempt salary threshold, which is the minimum amount employees must earn in order to be classified as exempt from the FLSA's overtime requirement. However, the change was blocked by an appellate court. Now, the Trump administration's DOL is considering its own changes to the overtime rule, and employer and employee groups testified about their concerns at an Oct. 17 hearing at the DOL.
A group of former cheerleaders for the Houston Texans have filed two employment lawsuits in the past two weeks. The first was filed as a potential class action against the National Football League and alleges that Texans cheerleaders are not fairly compensated or paid overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The second suit makes the same claim against the Texans but adds that the women were subjected to a hostile work environment and physical assaults by both the cheerleading coach and Texans fans.
In the first ruling under federal law involving Uber, a U.S. District Court Judge in Pennsylvania has just ruled that limousine drivers for UberBLACK are independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA sets the minimum wage and overtime rules for covered employees -- but independent contractors are not covered by the law. Therefore, much FLSA litigation centers around who is legally an employee and who is a contractor.
Another federal appeals court has held that employees who have faced illegal retaliation at work are eligible to recover damages for emotional distress under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA). The FLSA governs wage and hour laws, such as overtime and minimum wage, for businesses across the United States. This holding could have significant implications for employers throughout the country.
Establishing an effective workplace and strong culture starts at the top for any company. When managers and supervisors model correct behavior, it sets the tone for others to follow. As a result, companies can realize tangible benefits by properly training their managers and supervisors. Proper training of supervisors will include: