Archives: FLSA

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Maryland District Court Refuses Conditional Certification of Proposed Class of Grocery Store Managers

Grocery stores have taken on special prominence as being on the front lines of the current coronavirus pandemic. Just as that role was becoming apparent, the federal district court in Maryland issued a strong opinion not only denying conditional certification for a class of grocery store managers, but also dismissing many of their claims. In … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Now Addresses When Notices of Collective Action Can be Given to Employees Who May Have Arbitration Agreements Waiving Their Right to Join

Whether to give notices of a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to employees who may join presents some nuanced and challenging questions for district courts. The court must “respect judicial neutrality and avoid even the appearance of endorsing the action’s merits.” See Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165, 171-174 (1989). … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Finds That Rule 68 Can Be Used To Settle FLSA Claims

Many litigants in FLSA cases find practical obstacles in settling the matters, particularly when there are disputes regarding what exactly has happened or when the underlying claim turns out to be very small. This process is made more difficult by the judicial interpretation of the FLSA’s enforcement provision, section 16, which permits the Department of … Continue Reading

Louisiana District Court Decertifies FLSA Class of Warehouse Supervisors

We’ve noted many times that while employees prevail on most motions for conditional certification under the FLSA, employers tend to prevail on the second stage motion for decertification. A recent case reflects that continuing reality, but also highlights weaknesses in the two-stage paradigm that work to the disadvantage employers irrespective of the merits (or lack … Continue Reading

District Court Refuses Conditional Certification of “Policy to Violate the Policy” Case

In collective actions under the FLSA, courts typically apply a lower standard to the first “conditional certification” stage. In some cases, that might be warranted, but in many instances courts will undertake an unduly lenient review and conditionally certify cases that have no business proceeding as a class and have no realistic prospect of surviving … Continue Reading

District Court Decertifies FLSA Collective Action With Independent Contractor Issues

We’ve commented many times before that relatively few collective actions survive the “second stage” motion to decertify or, relatedly, an unofficial “third stage” when the trial court actually considers how the matter will be managed at trial. Here is another variation on that theme – an unusual case involving a lender’s claimed involvement in the … Continue Reading

Missouri District Court Decertifies FLSA Class of IT Workers

We’ve noted before that while conditional certification motions are often granted, such classes fare far less well at the second decertification stage and just as poorly on the eve of trial. See: “Ninth Circuit Affirms Decertification of FLSA Off-the-Clock Case” from Sept. 21, 2018, and “Ohio District Court Decertifies Class of Health Care Workers in … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Addresses Notices of Collective Action for Those Who Signed Arbitration Agreements Requiring Only Individual Claims

The intersection of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action procedures and employee arbitration agreements waiving aggregate actions has led to differing approaches among the district courts. In JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Case No. 18-20825, decided Feb. 21, 2019), the Fifth Circuit found that a district court does not have “discretion to send or require … Continue Reading

Another Court Rejects Class Claims Contending That Vocational Students Are Really Employees

In yet another challenge regarding the employment status of students and interns as employees, the Second Circuit has concluded quite rightfully that vocational students – even those at for-profit institutions – are still students. We’ve seen this argument before in the context of both students and interns. (November 15, 2018, December 12, 2017, and May … Continue Reading

District Court Decertifies Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment Suit Against Trucking Company

Most employment class actions today are wage and hour matters, but class actions for alleged discrimination are still brought and can present their own unique challenges for both plaintiffs and the defense. Apart from the procedural differences between Fair Labor Standards Act collective actions and Rule 23 class actions, one key difference between wage and … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Reverses Rule 23 Certification in ‘Off the Clock’ Case

Ruling also touches upon FLSA conditional certification order Many wage and hour cases filed today try to name popular targets and to rely upon tried and true allegations. Unfortunately for employers, this is at times a successful playbook, particularly when settlement is the primary goal. That approach, however, doesn’t always work, particularly if the district … Continue Reading

Central District of California Denies Certification in Mortgage Loan Officer Case

FLSA Conditional Certification Denied Too The position of mortgage loan officer has been a fertile source of wage and hour claims, but a recent case from the Central District of California reflects that certification of a class, even involving such a “target” position, is by no means guaranteed. In Fernandez v. Bank of America, Case … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Affirms Decertification of FLSA Off-the-Clock Case

No, that isn’t a typo – it was the Ninth Circuit. Those familiar with collective action litigation are already familiar with the two-step paradigm most courts use to evaluate collective action claims. In the first stage, commonly misnamed “conditional certification,” the court determines whether to authorize notice to the putative class. In doing so, most courts … Continue Reading

And Yes, Epic Systems Applies to Independent Contractors, Too

Unreported opinion will also impact potential counterstrategy Just three months ago, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S. Ct. 1632 (2018), in which it rejected perhaps the largest remaining obstacles to the enforcement of class action waivers in arbitration agreements in the employment context, concluding that they did not violate … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Overturns Default Judgment for Failing to Pay Arbitrator’s Fee

With the Epic Systems case broadly supporting employers’ rights to use arbitration agreements with class waivers, what is now emerging is the result of the necessary trade-off. Employers can, in the wake of Epic Systems, use arbitration agreements to compel the arbitration of putative class claims on an individual basis. But the quid pro quo … Continue Reading

New York District Court Denies Conditional Certification of Class of Café Managers

The United States District Court has rendered a decision that is interesting in at least two respects. First, it is a lengthy and thoughtful opinion denying certification of a putative class of 1,100 café managers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Second, the court based the decision, at least in part, on the recent … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Exemption Decision Could Have Broader Repercussions

Need FLSA exemptions be narrowly construed? On April 2, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision on the issue of whether the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) exemption for those selling or servicing automobiles at car dealerships applied to service consultants. Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, Case No. 16-1362 (Apr. 2, 2018). Unless you … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment in Putative Internship Class

Four years ago, a wave of cases involving unpaid internships looked to be the next “big thing.” As those cases sputtered, however, and employers reduced or eliminated internships, the flood of anticipated litigation never fully materialized. Many targets of these claims simply settled, but a small number of these cases continued to be litigated. In 2012, … Continue Reading
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