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Employment Archives

Pizza Delivery Proving FLSA Kickback Has Broad Reach

Many employees, regardless of industry or location, incur regular expenses related to their jobs - i.e. purchasing tools, cleaning uniforms, and for travel. Employers and employees alike often take expenses like these for granted; however, major employers around the country are learning the consequences of leaving such expenses in the charge of employees. As elaborated below, pizza titans Domino's and Pizza Hut are each facing litigation brought by classes of delivery drivers who incur expenses that reduce their take home pay to levels below the minimum wage, in alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").

SCOTUS to Decide on Use of Statistics in Determining Class Action Liability and Damages

The landscape of class action litigation in the United States has been shaped by evolving judicial interpretations of class certification requirements, and the Supreme Court of the United States ("SCOTUS") is once again primed to interpret these requirements. SCOTUS has granted certiorari in Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146, in order to address the use of representative samples - also referred to as the "trial by formula" method - in calculating liability and damages with respect to an entire class, and whether a class may include members who were not actually injured by the controversy at issue in a litigation.

Are You Being Paid for Answering Those Work emails and Calls Outside of Work?

In the workplace, technology has been credited with improving efficiency and in general making it easier for employees to communicate with superiors, colleagues and customers. Increasingly, however, many workplaces are using technologies like laptops, email and smartphones to exploit workers who are expected to essentially be on call and respond to work-related matters during the evenings and on the weekends.

Supreme Court Increases Employers' Fiduciary Responsibilities in 401(k) Plans

In 2007, a lawsuit was filed against energy giant Edison International, alleging that the company violated the Employees Retirement Income Securities Act of 1974 (ERISA) by offering employees higher-priced retail class mutual funds as retirement plan investments when what were basically the same funds could be had under lower-cost institutional shares. The class action against Edison was brought on behalf of about 20,000 employees and retirees.

Whistleblower Given Large Award in SEC's First Retaliation Action

In its first settlement regarding a claim of retaliation against a whistleblower, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") awarded whistleblower James Nordgaard ("Nordgaard") $600,000, which was 30 percent of the commission's settlement with Nordgaard's former firm, Paradigm Capital Management, Inc.1 After blowing the whistle on Paradigm in 2014 for engaging in prohibited transactions, Nordgaard, who was the former head of trading at the hedge fund, experienced retaliatory actions such as demotion, rescinding of his responsibilities, and being "otherwise marginalized" until he eventually resigned from the firm. Paradigm and its owner, Candace King Weir ("Paradigm"), paid $2.2 million in total to settle the case with the SEC.2

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Pension Law

On May 8, 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court held that a pension law which cut government workers' benefits was unconstitutional pursuant to a clause in the Illinois Constitution. The law was passed in 2013 with the intention of reducing the state's $105 billion debt from the retirement system. Specifically, the law "stopped automatic, compounded yearly cost-of-living increase for retirees, extended retirement ages for current state workers and limited the amount of salary used to calculate pension benefits."1 The Constitution states that pension benefits cannot be "diminished or impaired" once they are agreed upon and are settled as part of a contract between the government and employees.

Universal Agrees to Pay $26 Million to Class of Movie Industry Professionals

For decades Hollywood studios have found creative and controversial ways of dividing profits among industry professionals. One specific area where actors, writers and directors have taken issue is in the division of profits from home video revenue.

Judge Dismisses Antitrust Suit Against DreamWorks, Disney

Legal claims are highly procedural and time-sensitive. To be successful, claims must be correctly processed and contain sufficient evidence to move the claim forward. The federal government and the states also have various statutes of limitations for different kinds of claims, and if you are party to a legal dispute, then your lawyer should be abreast of the relevant procedural requirements and statutes of limitations when advising you on your case.

JP Morgan Still Fighting ERISA Lawsuit Brought by Employees

JPMorgan Chase and Co. ("JPMorgan" or the "Company") is still feeling the ramifications of the improper derivative trades undertaken by [former employee] Bruno Iksil, the so-called "London Whale," and several others. The trades caused the company to lose over $6 billion and incur more than $1 billion in fines. In Scrydoff v. JPMorgan Chase and Co. (2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46366), the financial services company is facing a class action lawsuit brought by a class of its own employees that invested money into retirement accounts containing JPMorgan common stock funds. The plaintiffs allege that JPMorgan violated its fiduciary duties to employees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") during the period of December 20, 2011 to July 12, 2012 (the "Class Period").1

Supreme Court Sides with DOL Regarding Agency Rulemaking

In the case Perez v. Mortgage Bankers' Association (2015 U.S. LEXIS 1740), the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Department of Labor ("DOL") and upheld changes the DOL made to an interpretive rule. In 1999 and 2001, the DOL issued interpretive rulings holding that mortgage-loan officers do not qualify as administrative officers and, hence, are not subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") overtime exemption. In 2004, the DOL changed its ruling and said that mortgage-loan officers do, in fact, fall into the FLSA's overtime exemption category. Finally, in 2010, the DOL went back on its 2004 decision, and ruled without "notice or comment" that the loan officers do not fall under the exemption. In siding with the DOL, the Supreme Court also overturned the "Paralyzed Veterans Doctrine" laid out by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Paralyzed Veterans of America v. D.C. Arena L.P (117 F. 3d 579).1