Friday, May 26, 2023

WIRTW #674: the “dogs” edition

Meet Loula and Dante, our dogs. 

They have a lot in common. They're both vizslas. They are both from the same breeder (whom I cannot more highly recommend for the care he puts into his own dogs, his puppies, and his puppies' owners). And they share the exact same birthday, May 8, albeit 7 years apart (Loula just turned 11, Dante 4).

One more thing they have in common — they are in the running for Cleveland's Cutest Pet

Here's my ask for all of you, my loyal, devoted, and appreciative readers. Click this link and vote for Loula and Dante. They would really love it. (I would, too.)

Here's what I read this week that you should read, too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Pro tip: don’t monkey with an employee’s “regular” hourly rate to avoid overtime obligations

Let's say you have an employee who works 40 hours per week at the rate of $13.00 per hour. Now let's say that same employee needs to start working 20 hours of overtime per week to meet your needs. You still, however, want that employee to earn to same effective rate of $13.00 per week, so you reduce the employee's straight-time hourly rate of $11.15. When the need to work overtime ends, you then return the employee to the original $13.00 rate. Is the reduction of the employee's base hourly rate legal under the Fair Labor Standards Act? 

According to the 11th Circuit in Thompson v. Regions Security Services, the answer is "not unless you want a jury to decide the legality of your pay practices under the FLSA."

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Uber suspends DEI exec over “Don’t Call Me Karen” events

Uber has suspended its longtime head of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Bo Young Lee, after Black and Hispanic employees complained that an event she ran — titled "Don't Call Me Karen" — was insensitive to people of color.

"Karen," in case you've lived an a cave without WiFi for the past half-decade, is slang for an entitled white woman who often complains to a management and the authorities about Black people and other minorities.

Monday, May 22, 2023

6th Circuit adopts one-step verification for FLSA collective actions

We hold that, for a district court to facilitate notice of an FLSA suit to other employees, the plaintiffs must show a "strong likelihood" that those employees are similarly situated to the plaintiffs themselves. That standard requires a showing greater than the one necessary to create a genuine issue of fact, but less than the one necessary to show a preponderance. The strong-likelihood standard is familiar to the district courts; it would confine the issuance of court-approved notice, to the extent practicable, to employees who are in fact similarly situated; and it would strike the same balance that courts have long struck in analogous circumstances.

With those words, the 6th Circuit ended decades of uncertainty in Fair Labor Standards Act wage and hour collective action lawsuits in my Circuit on the issue of when in such a lawsuit a district court should determine which employees properly belong in the the class. 

Friday, May 19, 2023

WIRTW #673: the “syck” edition

It's always great to connect with old friends. It's even better when your old friend works in a similar field as you. And it's even better when that same old friend hosts his own podcast and invites you on as guest. 

Such was the case with my old college friend, Alan Stein, who is a career coach for executive-level employees. This week I'm Al's guest on his SYCK Career Podcast. We discuss a multitude of employment law issues, including, in great detail, employment contracts and performance improvement plans. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, in your browser, and everywhere else you get your podcasts.

Cheers, Al. It was great to reconnect with you.

Here's what I read this week that you should read, too.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

A few wage and hour thoughts for beer festival season

As the weather warms up around the country and spring quickly transitions to summer, festival season will begin … including my personal favorite, the beer festival.

Beer festivals, however, raise a few specific wage and hour traps for participating breweries. Here's the 411.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Can an employer require that employees be of a specific faith? Believe it or not, it depends.

"Mature orthodox Christian faith as defined by the Apostles' Creed."

That is one of the qualifications listed in a job posting for a filmmaker position. The employer — the International Justice Mission — is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the mission of which is to combat human trafficking and slavery, violence against women and children, and police abuse of power worldwide.

Can IJM make a certain religious faith a job qualification or otherwise ask about religion as part of the hiring process?

It depends on whether "religion" is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) for that employer.