Posts Tagged ‘wage and hour suits’

Can employees recover overtime for after-hours work they never reported at the time?

Jon Hyman:

When we last examined Allen v. City of Chicago — a case in which a class of Chicago police officers claimed their employer owed them unpaid overtime for their time spent reading emails off-duty on their smartphones—an Illinois federal court had dismissed the claims, holding that most of the emails were incidental and non-essential to the officers’ work, and, regardless, the employer lacked specific knowledge of non-compensated off-duty work.

[In August] – in what is believed to be the first, and only, federal appellate court decision on whether an employer owes non-exempt employees overtime for time spent off-duty reading emails on a smartphone — the 7th Circuit affirmed [pdf].

While under existing precedent an employer must pay for all off-hours work it knows about even if the work is unwelcome and against its policy, it is evidently not required to pay for work that it never learned about at the time because employees ignored a policy requiring them to report it.

September 6 roundup

Labor and employment roundup

  • Welcome news: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta urges states to fix occupational licensing [Eric Boehm, Reason] Fresh thinking on the antitrust angle in a bill from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) [Ilya Shapiro, Cato] “Occupational licensing should not be used to keep honest Americans out of work” [Clark Neily, The Hill] Video of Heritage panel on the subject with Maureen Ohlhausen of the FTC, Alex Tabarrok, Paul Larkin, and Dexter Price [Marginal Revolution]
  • “The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has allowed an employee to pursue a disability discrimination claim based on the use of medical marijuana.” [Jon Hyman]
  • That’s how we’ll solve difficult issues of statutory interpretation. We’ll call names [Richard Thompson Ford, Take Care, on expansion of Title VII interpretation to sexual orientation, earlier here, here, etc.] More: Scott Greenfield;
  • If not for wise lawmakers like those in California, who would look out for our privacy? [Steven Greenhut on proposal to give unions private workers’ phone numbers and addresses]
  • D.C. politicians are one big reason residents east of Anacostia River have poor grocery options [Diana Furchtgott-Roth; minimum wage]
  • Uniform, predictable test needed for who is an “employee” and “employer” [Glenn Lammi, WLF, first and second posts]

Congress can correct NLRB’s joint employer mistake

House members introduce “Save Local Business Act (H.R. 3441), which would restore the traditional joint employer standard that the NLRB upended and modifies the definition of joint employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act to be consistent with the definition under the National Labor Relations Act.” [Trey Kovacs, CEI, Connor Wolf/Inside Sources Ben Gitis, American Action Forum, earlier on Browning-Ferris and joint employer standard]

“Macron Takes On France’s Labor Code, 100 Years in the Making”

“For now, the labor code is so complex, and violating it is so risky, that many French employers keep it in a separate room and speak of it with awe. Only specialists, on their staff or outside it, are allowed to consult the oracle, they say…. The Macron changes would help employers set the rules on hiring and firing, ignore the crippling restraints in the code that discourage taking on new workers, and limit unions’ ability to get in the way. Instead, individual agreements would be negotiated at the company or industry level between bosses and workers.” [Adam Nossiter, New York Times]

A note on college-degree credentialism in the workplace

From “Walker” in the comments at the Slate Star Codex blog (“Scott Alexander”), which had been discussing the overemphasis on college degrees as a prerequisite for mid- to upper-level management jobs that some persons without degrees could perform very well:

I am a mid-level engineering manager for a very large aerospace company. Their rationale for requiring degrees is clear and I suspect it is shared by many companies. They prefer to hire all of the skilled employees as “exempt”, meaning not subject to fair labor standards laws and not eligible for overtime. The state and federal labor overseers require that the company have well-defined rules for distinguishing exempt from non-exempt and the company uses a degree as one of the primary criteria. The HR folks will absolutely not allow deviations from this policy because it would jeopardize the entire company job category structure. I can cite examples and details if anyone is interested but this is a really clear policy across every place I have worked.

Wage, hour, and pay roundup

Labor and employment roundup

Trump admin: don’t strike down Obama overtime edict, we’re planning to walk it back

“The U.S. Labor Department told a federal appeals court Friday that while it intends to revise the Obama-era rule that made millions of workers eligible for overtime pay the agency will continue to defend its authority to create and enforce such a regulation.” One hopes the walkback will be complete or nearly so, since overtime mandates for midlevel employees were one of Obama’s most destructive policy initiatives. Better yet would be for the federal government to beat a retreat from this 1930s-era body of law entirely. [Erin Mulvaney, NLJ; AP/L.A. Times; earlier here and here]

Union sues against term it negotiated

Thanks to reader J.H. for flagging Alcala v. Santa Fe Rubber Products, from the California courts last fall: “A very strange case — Union demands 20 minute lunch breaks (instead of the required 30), which are put into a union contract. Then, in balked renegotiations years later, they threaten to sue for labor violation claiming 20 violates statute, and ultimately get evidence of their demands kept out. Court of Appeals agrees with most of that. And the unions protect exactly who?”