Biography

A past Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Wage and Hour Division, Paul DeCamp has spent more than 25 years counseling employers to prepare for scrutiny of their pay practices. He frequently represents employers in complex wage and hour class and mass actions and government investigations. Paul draws on his experience in private practice and as the former chief federal officer, appointed by the President of the United States, responsible for interpreting and enforcing the nation’s wage and hour laws, to give clients a 360-degree view of their challenges, quantify their risk, and create plans and solutions that align with their business objectives. He is a go-to advisor for his clients’ most pressing wage and hour issues.

Paul uses his strategic insight into wage and hour public policy and government agency enforcement practices to help employers understand how plaintiffs’ counsel and regulators perceive their pay practices. He has defended large private employers and government contractors in federal court cases concerning pay practices for exempt, non-exempt, and tipped employees, as well as independent contractors. Paul’s creative and forceful arguments have blocked class certification attempts and led the DOL to revise its interpretation of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provisions. When responding to an investigation, his strong relationships with key DOL personnel and other federal and state agencies give clients the advantage of further consideration and review of their matter.

Clients also rely on Paul’s day-to-day advice on wage and hour matters ranging from discrete questions involving a single employee to nationwide evaluations affecting thousands of workers. Additionally, he assists clients with pay practice audits and corporate transaction due diligence.

Paul is co-chair of Epstein Becker Green’s Wage and Hour practice group. He is also co-editor of, and a contributing writer to, the firm’s Wage and Hour Defense Blog.

In addition, Paul is a frequent speaker and thought leader who has testified before Congress several times both while serving at the DOL and in private practice. He most recently testified before a House committee as the sole management-side witness regarding potential new federal wage legislation.

Experience

  • Secured new DOL guidance on behalf of the Restaurant Law Center and the Texas Restaurant Association regarding the 80/20 rule for tipped employees. The case influenced the DOL to reject its prior guidance limiting the amount of time tipped employees can spend on non-tip-generating activities.
  • Defended a hotel company with properties across the country in a DOL investigation of its pay practices. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul brought the matter to a conclusion in six weeks with no findings of back wages or penalties due—a rarity in hospitality employer investigations.
  • Challenged the DOL on behalf of the National Restaurant Association in federal court and before agency personnel to withdraw its 2011 regulations regarding tip credits. Paul’s work paved the way for restaurants and other businesses to create tip pools for tipped and non-tipped employees.
  • Defended 30 NCAA Division I universities against claims they owed their student-athletes the minimum wage under the FLSA as employees for time spent participating in intercollegiate sports. In arguing the absence of an employment relationship, Paul secured the first federal appellate ruling that collegiate athletics should continue as an amateur endeavor rather than as paid employment.
  • Defended a pharmaceutical company in three lawsuits (in California, Florida, and Illinois federal courts) that challenged the exempt status of pharmaceutical sales representatives. Though plaintiffs’ counsel attempted to transfer all three suits to the only circuit that classified those workers as non-exempt, Paul persuaded the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to conclude that each case should remain in its original district.
  • Defended Shoe Show, a large independent shoe retailer, against attempts to certify a nationwide FLSA collective action involving the exempt status of store managers. Paul challenged the plaintiff’s contention of common practices by proving the plaintiff had limited knowledge of payment practices at other store locations.
Education
  • Columbia University School of Law (J.D., 1995)
    • Notes Editor, Columbia Law Review
    • Director and Student Editor, First-Year Moot Court Program
    • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
  • Harvard College (A.B., magna cum laude, 1992)
    • John Harvard Academic Scholar
    • Harvard College Academic Scholar
    • National Merit Scholar
    • President, Quad Sound Studios, a student-run on-campus recording studio
Bar Admissions
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
Court Admissions
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
Memberships
  • American Employment Law Council
  • Law360 Employment Editorial Advisory Board
Recognition
  • The Best Lawyers in America©Employment Law – Management (2019 to 2021); Litigation – Labor and Employment (2017 to 2021)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, District of Columbia, Labor & Employment (2018 to 2020); Virginia, Labor & Employment (2011 to 2017)
  • The Legal 500 United States, Labor and Employment Disputes (Including Collective Actions): Defense (2018 to 2020); Workplace and Employment Counseling (2018 to 2020)
  • Washington DC Super LawyersEmployment Litigation: Defense and Employment & Labor: Employer (2014 to 2020)
  • Washingtonian Magazine, “Top Lawyers,” Employment Defense (2020)
  • Virginia Super Lawyers, Employment Litigation: Defense and Employment & Labor (2013 to 2017)
  • Virginia Rising Stars, Employment Litigation: Defense and Employment & Labor (2010 to 2011)
  • Secretary of Labor Exceptional Achievement Awards, Recipient of three awards (2007 to 2008)