Tag Archives: employment law

Tipped Employees can still sue under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) depending on their tasks.

For about thirty years the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Rule has been that a tipped employee who receives less pay per-hour, because they are a tipped employee, must spend 80% of their time at work doing activities that are tip generating. This means 80% of the employees, time had to be spent on tasks directly related to serving the customer, thereby directly generating tips. Hence, napkin folding, “opening the restaurant,” and other tasks would need to be kept to less than 20% of a tipped employee’s time at work. In November of 2018 the Department of Labor rolled back this Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidance for tipped employees. However, courts have consistently held that the rule is still in effect, allowing cases to move forward against Buffalo Wild Wings, and Denny’s, as if the rule had not changed. The status of this rule, and how courts will treat it, changes constantly, and depends on the judge, because the Department of Labor rolling back this Fair Labor Standards Act rule for tipped employees was not done in the traditional way that agency rules change.

Whether one assumes that 80% of the time a tipped employee works must be spent on tipped activities to satisfy the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), or less due to the rollback of the rule, what counts as a tipped activity is very specific and defined through hundreds of court decisions. Many activities that restaurants would normally consider tip generating tasks, are not tip generating tasks. It is difficult to know which tasks are tip generating, versus non-tip generating, without a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawyer to guide you through the legal swamp that is tipped versus non-tipped tasks under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For help in determining if your tipped employees are spending eighty percent of their time on tipped tasks, or if you have been sued by a tipped employee claiming to have done more than the allowed percentage of non-tipped tasks, call Joshua Sheskin at the South Florida Headquarters of Lubell Rosen. – Joshua H. Sheskin,Esq., 954-880-9500, jhs@lubellrosen.com

Just because someone is A Manager does not mean they do not need to be paid Overtime under the FLSA

On February 28, 2019, a jury verdict of 2.9 million dollars was entered against Stake ‘N Shake, for not paying overtime to their managers.

That amount is likely to be doubled by the Court within the two months, or so, because under the FLSA the amount the jury awards is often doubled as a legally mandated penalty against the employer. The issue is that the employees suing Stake ‘N Shake were managers, and they were still entitled to overtime. In a famous case Family Dollar was hit with a judgement against them of over ten million dollars when their managers sued them, and they appealed and the appellate court determined their managers were entitled to overtime.

However, one of the most common things that people claim to have knowledge of about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and its overtime requirements, is that managers are not entitled to overtime pay. It is patently false that giving someone the title of manager means you do not have to pay them overtime. To not pay overtime, to someone you call a manager, they must fit a very specific set of legal guidelines that are interpreted through hundreds, if not thousands, of Court decisions. Failing to pay someone overtime, who meets the complex regulations interpreted through court decisions, means you can be sued for overtime in a very expensive Federal or State Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Lawsuit. Often time payroll companies, and non FLSA Lawyers, get wrong which managers get overtime, and which do not. For help in knowing if your managers should be paid overtime, or if one of your managers is suing you for overtime, call Joshua Sheskin at the Ft. Lauderdale Florida Headquarters of Lubell Rosen LLC.- By: Joshua H. Sheskin, Esq., 954-880-9500 jhs@lubellrosen.com

Workers with Varying Hourly Rates Have Variable Overtime Rates an Employer Must Pay Or Risk Getting Sued Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Overtime seems like an easy concept; the employee is entitled to 150% of their regular hourly pay for every hour of overtime they work. However, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) there are special rules for employees who make different rates throughout the course of the week, and when those different jobs count as independent employment, versus when the work at both jobs must be counted towards the employee’s forty hours per-week. A typical situation where this arises is in a restaurant where an employee sometimes acts as a manager and sometimes as a server, in this case the hours worked as a manager and as a server may or may not need to be added together to determine if overtime is owed, it depends on how you have set up that employment arrangement on paper with the employee. On that note, if management and service is set up improperly, then if the employee makes more as a manager, than they do as a server, you cannot pay them overtime rates based on whether the overtime hours were as a manager or server, nor take the lower of the two numbers.  When an employee has a varying hourly rate, getting the overtime calculation wrong can lead to a very expensive Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) suit. If you do not have a contract in place with a worker who does what you think are two separate jobs, a contract that is legally adequate to distinguish the jobs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), then you can also face an expensive FLSA lawsuit. For help in avoiding expensive federal lawsuits when paying employees varying hourly rates call Attorney Joshua Sheskin at Lubell Rosen

YOU CANNOT AGREE WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY THEM OVERTIME, EVEN IF THE AGREEMENT YOU MAKE PAYS THEM MORE

The right to overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cannot be given up in an employment contract, or agreed between the employer and employee not to apply. In hundreds of FLSA cases I have been involved in, one of the most common things employers are sued for is coming up with ways to pay their employees more, but that do not pay them overtime at one-and-one half times their regular hourly rate. Often times these employers tell me that the employee gladly signed a contract to be paid that way because it meant more money. A contract to pay less than one-and-one-half times the regular hourly rate for overtime hours is an illegal contract and completely unenforceable. An employee cannot give up his/her right to overtime, and an employer cannot agree to not follow the law. However, if you do want to pay your employees in a way that is not a strict hourly rate, and one-and-one-half times that rate for overtime, there are ways to do that for some employees. Other employees the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require you to pay overtime to. While exceptions to overtime laws can be applied to some employees, and other employees can be paid a salary that reduces the overtime rate (salaried employees are entitled to overtime), complex legal rules apply. Implementing a system of payment that does not subject you to lawsuits usually requires a labor lawyer. The Fair Labor Standards Act is a specialized field. To have a specialist help you avoid costly lawsuits call or email Joshua Sheskin at Lubell Rosen today – By: Joshua H. Sheskin, Esq., 954-880-9500 – JHS@LubellRosen.com

A Well Drafted Employee Arbitration Agreement Is Essential to Avoiding Costly Lawsuits

FLSA Lawsuits can cost employers significant amounts of money, both in defense costs and paying claims, however, there is a way to avoid these costly lawsuits. A well drafted arbitration agreement that covers actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and other state/federal laws, is essential to avoiding several kinds of lawsuits. An arbitration agreement is an agreement that your employees sign which obligates them to bring their issues to an arbitrator you select, rather than to court. Employees who represent Plaintiffs in FLSA, and other, cases, rarely wish to pursue any action that involves arbitration, because it requires a significant investment on the part of the attorney in a type of case usually taken on contingency. The significant investment comes in the form of a filing fee for the arbitration. A filing fee for arbitration can cost that attorney ten times what bringing a lawsuit costs, and most Plaintiff’s attorneys are hesitant to invest that type of money up front, especially because under a contingency agreement they are only paid if they win. It is rare to find a Plaintiff’s Lawyer who wants to bring any type of case to arbitration because of cost, but also because arbitrators picked by employers tend to favor employers. Courts will enforce arbitration clauses, especially in FLSA lawsuits, but they must be written properly, and written to cover actions properly brought under the FLSA. An insufficient arbitration agreement, or a poorly written arbitration agreement, may not be enforced by a court. For help in drafting a proper arbitration agreement that a court can uphold contact Joshua Sheskin at Lubell Rosen’s Broward County Headquarters. – By: Joshua H. Sheskin, Esq., 954-880-9500JHS@LubellRosen.com.

 

An Illegal Immigrant Can Sue Their Employer in Federal Court

One of the most common misconceptions that employers have is that illegal immigrants cannot sue their employers. Illegal immigrants can sue their employers in Federal Court for the non-payment of minimum wage, and overtime, pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA it does not matter whether someone is in the country illegally, nor will they be deported for filing a lawsuit. There are places in the country where an illegal immigrant cannot bring a Federal Lawsuit, but in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and other states, an illegal immigrant can bring a lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers have to pay all of their employees in accordance with Federal Regulations or risk an expensive lawsuit. – By Joshua H. Sheskin, Esq., 954-880-9500JHS@LubellRosen.com

Under Federal Labor Law Very Few Employees are Independent Contractors

The law does not give the option to employers to pay their employees as independent contractors by paying them via 1099 rather than W-2. For purposes of Federal Labor Laws, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an independent contractor is a person who is not economically dependent on any one employer as a primary source of income. When you hire someone to paint your house you are hiring them as an independent contractor, but when you own a business and your employees depend on you to make a living you cannot hire them as independent contractors. This comes as a surprise to many business owners, and I defend businesses all of the time that make the mistake of classifying their employees as independent contractors. The line between independent contractor and employee can get fuzzy, even a part time employee with a second job may, or may not, be an independent contractor. Companies such as Grub Hub have come under fire, recently, for classifying their drivers as independent contractors. Do not risk misclassifying your employees, it can be a costly mistake. For advice as to whether your employees are independent contractors call, or email, attorney Joshua Sheskin of Lubell Rosen. – By Joshua H. Sheskin, Esq., 954-880-9500JHS@LubellRosen.com