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Employment Archives

DOL spotlight: workers, wage claims and employer retaliation

Here's a point that comes through with crystal clarity in a recent federal blog post authored in tandem by two U.S. Department of Labor administrators: some seriously high wattage will power the beam focused by federal regulators on any wage-based claim featuring allegations of employer retaliation.

Is There Any Place in Business for a Non-Compete Agreement?

So-called non-compete agreements have become something of a pariah in the business world in recent years, suffering from a barrage of complaints that tag them as repressive instruments that unfairly burden workers. One recent article penned by a U.S. Department of Labor attorney calls them "overbroad, blunt instruments" that are far too often used in lieu of other means of balancing the employer-employee relationship.

Wells Fargo FLSA Violations

Wells Fargo & Company ("Wells Fargo" or the "Bank") has come under federal investigation for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") by failing to pay overtime. Wells Fargo's former employees have spoken out about being forced to create fake bank accounts in order to meet impossible sales goals, and have claimed they were forced to work unpaid overtime to meet those goals. These employees claim they would stay extra hours at the office; if these hours were recorded, managers would go into the Bank's time tracking software and reduce them. If employees tried to push back against these practices, they were threatened with termination, and, in several instances, employees who pushed back were fired.

UnitedHealth Plan Participants Granted Class Certification

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero recently certified a group of UnitedHealth Group Inc. ("UnitedHealth" or the "Company") health plan participants alleging that the Company is improperly denying mental health and substance abuse treatments, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The lack of coverage was common among a large number of participants, which allowed for class certification.

Uber Drivers Appeal Lower Court's Decision Requiring Them to Arbitrate Wage Claims

A proposed class of drivers appealed the lower court's decision requiring them to arbitrate their wage claims on an individual basis against the ride-hailing company, Uber Technologies Inc. ("Uber" or the "Company"). Specifically, U.S. District Court Judge James S. Moody Jr. rejected all three arguments made by the drivers, that: (1) the arbitration clause was unconscionable; (2) the provision requiring drivers to split the cost of arbitration was unlawful; and (3) the forum selection provision was unlawful. Coming before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the drivers have now argued that the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") bars the arbitration clause in the user agreements.

Class Definition in SunTrust ERISA Lawsuit

Between mid-2007 and early 2011, SunTrust Banks ("SunTrust" or the "Company") was accused of improperly handling its employees' 401(k) plan by purchasing its own common stock with the employees' retirement funds. Given the large stake in the subprime housing market (one of the main contributors to the Great Recession), SunTrust's employees filed a lawsuit in mid-2008, alleging that the Company's actions were imprudent and that it breached its Employment Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") fiduciary duties, which require SunTrust to act solely in the interests of the 401(k) plan members. The employees further claimed that SunTrust breached its fiduciary duties by failing to disclose how it was using the employees' retirement savings.

Morgan Stanley Settles $6M for FLSA Suit

In 2014, a Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") case against Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC ("Morgan Stanley" or the "Company"), which alleged the Company was not paying its employees overtime, ended with a $4.2 million settlement. Subsequently, on June 30, 2016, after facing several identical lawsuits, Morgan Stanley agreed to pay-out another $6 million to settle those matters.