Old school clock for punching in and out of work

Tick Tock: What’s the Unit of Measure for Minimum Wage Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

On November 15, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion of first impression in the Circuit regarding minimum wage determination under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The panel affirmed a lower court’s decision in favor of Xerox in an action brought by customer service representatives who worked at call centers run by Xerox. The Ninth Circuit followed suit with the Second, Fourth, Eighth and D.C. Circuits, holding that the relevant unit of time for determining minimum wage compliance under the FLSA is the workweek as a whole instead of each individual hour within the workweek. See the opinion here. Xerox had a complex payment plan where employees earned different rates depending on the task and time spent on that task. Tasks outside those Xerox features in the payment plan had no specific designated rate. Hours were tallied at the end of the workweek under both categories and if the resulting hourly wage equaled or exceeded minimum wage, no additional payment was given. If the ratio falls below minimum wage, subsidy pay is given to employees to bump the average hourly wage up to minimum wage. The subsidy would ensure the appropriate hourly minimum wage for each workweek. The plaintiffs-appellants in the matter argued that the FLSA standard for measuring compliance is…

Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Sex is Prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000e(k).

A few weeks ago, the 11th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals upheld a favorable jury verdict on behalf of a former Alabama police officer under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The officer was working as an investigator on the narcotics task force when she became pregnant. Her supervisor told her on more than one occasion she should take only six weeks of FMLA leave however, the officer took twelve weeks of FMLA leave.   Prior to taking leave, the officer received a performance review which “exceeded expectations.”  However, on her first day back from leave she was written up. Eight days after returning from leave the officer was reassigned which resulted in losing her vehicle and weekends off as well as receiving a pay cut and different job duties. She also had to start wearing a ballistic vest all day as a patrol officer. She previously was not required to wear one in the narcotics task force.   Before beginning the patrol division, the officer took leave after being diagnosed with postpartum depression. The officer’s doctor wrote a letter to the Chief recommending she be considered for alternative duties because the ballistic vest she was now required to wear on patrol duty was restrictive and…

Snaplications and Legal Implications

This summer McDonald’s has teamed up with snapchat to hire 250,000 workers across the United States. (See Engadget.com.) For those who are not aware, Snapchat is an image messaging and multimedia mobile application. The idea behind the snaplication is that an interested snaplicant would video themselves and send it to the company. In this instance once videos are reviewed McDonald’s will send a link to its application page also within the app for the snaplicant to formally apply for a job. As noted in the article, the Snaplication will not take the place of a one-on-one interview but they will be considered.   The idea of a snaplication poses general questions on its legal implications in the employment hiring arena.  If companies begin using snaplications would this potentially amount to a rise in future litigation as to pre-hiring discrimination?   Imagine the potential for future claims. A snaplicant will have a documented video of their snaplication. This video would later be valuable in weighing future claims of discrimination. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so imagine the force of a video. The idea of using snaplications may give ammunition to claims that may ordinarily not have merit.   Think for example of a raced based claim of discrimination in the hiring process.…

Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn A Sacramento law firm

April Showers Bring Employment Empowers

April is not only the month for Californians to fixate on taxes but this year it has been an active month of change in the employment arena. Changes have occurred that many Californians deem as socially necessary and morally correct, but will no doubt place a heavy burden on small businesses in the state.  California legislators proposed a $15 minimum wage initiative called “Fair Wage Act of 2016” (#15-0032) and alternative legislation was proposed to this bill, Senate Bill 3, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law this month.  The signed alternative legislation still raises California’s mandatory minimum wage to $15 an hour but allows for an additional year to complete the task by the year 2022.  New York is the only other state to commit to such an increase to the minimum wage. Even the Governor appeared to question the economic rationale of his commitment but stood by this decision based on the fact that it morally made sense, indicating that individuals should be able to support their families based on the minimum wage. The legislation amends  Labor Code Section 1182.12 to now designate each incremental escalation for employers who employ 26 or more employees to increase the minimum wage by January 1, 2017 to $10.50. By January 1, 2018, the minimum wage would…

Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn

Critical Steps to Follow Upon Receipt of an Accusation

I Received an Accusation, Now What? If you are a licensed medical professional, you may, at some point during your career, receive a “Notice of Accusation.”  A “Notice of Accusation” should not be ignored or taken lightly. An Accusation is the vehicle by which your licensing agency (the California Medical Board) initiates a disciplinary proceeding against you, the licensee. Upon receiving an Accusation, it is incumbent on the licensee that the Accusation is read carefully. The Accusation lays out the charges sought by the agency and must specify the statutes and rules the licensee is alleged to have violated. (Gov. Code. § 11503.)     If you have received an Accusation the following has already occurred: A Complaint was filed with the Medical Board; The Medical Board investigated said Complaint; and, The Medical Board found a violation of the Medical Practices Act. Note: Up to this point, the complaint and Investigation are not public information. However, this information becomes public once an Accusation has been filed. If a violation of the Medical Practices Act is found, the Medical Board may pursue disciplinary actions against the licensee following the Administrative Hearing.  Such actions include: Revoking of the medical license; Suspension of the license for up to 1 year; Placing the license on probation, restricting the license,…

Two kings playing chess with the text, I'm glad we settled our conflict this way. War is expensive Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn

Fighting Fair: The Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

In nearly every litigated case there is a benefit to engaging in early alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). Although there may be some tactical advantages of delaying the scheduling of a mediation session, such as the filing of a dispositive motion to make unreasonable offers more narrowly tailored to the facts of the case, in the end you may find yourself at the edge of the cliff with limited resources before you even reach the courthouse steps. Many clients embarking on the battle that is litigation find that costs surmount quickly and energy is rapidly drained. This article attempts to describe the several types of alternative dispute resolution to be considered at the onset your case. Although many people conceive ADR to be a new age concept its roots are ancient, with commercial arbitration agreements dating back to Phoenician and Greek Traders. (See Kellor, F., American Arbitration: Its History, Functions, and Achievements, 3 (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press 1948).) In the United States, ADR predates both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  The right to privately settle claims outside of the courtroom was known in the time of our forefathers, but it was not until 1922 that ADR became institutionalized in the United States. Presently, clients are faced with a plethora of choices for ADR.…

Collage of words describing healthcare benefits Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn

Employer Beware: Managing Emerging Risks Presented By Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was created with a central goal in mind, namely, to put consumers back in charge of their health care. Under the law, a new “Patient’s Bill of Rights” operates to afford the American people the stability and flexibility for healthcare choices.  Access to healthcare for all however, comes at a premium for businesses that are mandated to supply healthcare to its employees. One of the well-known provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act is the “employer mandate” which states that companies must provide health insurance coverage for employees or they will face government penalties.  Beginning in 2015, if an employer with fifty or more full-time employees fails to offer health care coverage to its employees, it will have to pay a $2,000 annual fine for each worker over the first thirty employees.   Companies with fewer than fifty full-time employees are exempt.  Employees who are not covered by their employers will be forced to obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty.  An exception to the general rule of the mandate is that an employer does not have to provide health insurance coverage for employees who log fewer than 30 hours per week on average. This part-time status exception has become a new loophole for creative employers who…