Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) claims are the type of claims that can keep an employer fretting.  Not only can FLSA lawsuits be time intensive and mentally draining, they can also prove to be a financial burden if an employer is unsuccessful, since attorneys’ fees for prevailing plaintiffs are mandatory. 29 USC § 216 (b) (2011).   However, the Eleventh Circuit has recently proved that the requirement of attorneys’ fees may not be as clear as one may think.             On July 28, 2011, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that an employer accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act was not required to reimburse a plaintiff for attorneys’ fees and costs when the employer paid out the claim and the court declared the case moot.  Dionne v. Floormasters Enterprises, Inc., et. al., No. 09-15405 (11th. Cir., July 28, 2011).  In Dionne, Defendants filed a Tender of Full Payment and a Motion…       Read More

New regulations issued by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regarding tip credits and tip pools recently went into effect on May 5, 2011.  However, some industries are not satisfied with these change.  On June 16, 2011, the National Restaurant Association, the Council of State Restaurant Associations and the National Federation of Independent Business filed suit against the DOL over the amended regulations. The NRA has stated that the amended rule affects hundreds of thousands of businesses that employ tipped workers. The suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief because employers had no opportunity to comment on the new regulatory requirements and the DOL gave employers only 30 days to comply. The hospitality industry is the industry most affected by these changes as it often relies on the tip credit to manage its labor costs, while fairly compensating employees…       Read More

Many employers screen job applicants with background searches that include searches for information on social-networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If the employer hires another company to conduct such searches, the employer and the third-party vendor conducting the background check may be subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Federal Trade Commission recently  investigated such a third-party vendor, Social Intelligence Corp., who conducts background checks that include searches of such social media. The FTC found that Social Intelligence could continue to search for photos and other information on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as part of their background check services while complying with the FCRA. “Consumer reporting agencies must comply with several different FCRA provisions, and these compliance obligations apply equally in the social networking context. For example, consumer reporting agencies must take reasonable steps to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of the information reported from…       Read More

Have you given some of your employees the oh-so-important title of “manager” in order to avoid paying them overtime?  Burlington Coat Factory reportedly settled a class action lawsuit brought by its assistant managers this week for $5.7 million.  The employees claimed that the company failed to pay overtime and vacation pay for assistant managers. A designation of “manager” may work to avoid the payment of overtime, but the title has to be meaningful.  The Fair Labor Standards Act exempts executive, administrative, and professional employees from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the FLSA.  For each of these three categories, an employee must meet the “duties” test for the respective exemption, but first the employee must meet the salary and salary level test.  An employee is paid on a salary basis, as contemplated under the FLSA, if she receives a full salary for any work week in which any work…       Read More