The pay practices of employers in every industry are under constant scrutiny, from both regulators and the plaintiffs’ bar. While the clients of our Wage and Hour practice group are scrupulous about paying their employees correctly, they have real concerns about how to accomplish that given the maze of compliance issues they face. We address those concerns in a practical, efficient manner, taking full advantage of our team of lawyers who are well versed in the nuances of wage and hour law.
Our clients rely on us to advise them on having their pay practices comply with federal, state, and local laws, and to defend them when those practices are challenged. We help our clients with agency investigations. We defend them in class and collective action lawsuits. And we advise them in all wage and hour matters, including those that arise in the context of transactions.
Fending Off Class Actions
In any industry, disputes over wage and hour practices can threaten the very existence of companies targeted by them. The plaintiffs’ bar has grown increasingly aggressive at bringing these disputes—identifying jobs with vulnerable pay practices, then using them as the basis for massive class or collective actions. We see our clients through every stage of these cases, helping them quantify the risk, develop creative strategies, examine the business ramifications, and either defeat class certification or obtain dismissal of claims.
Avoiding potentially ruinous class actions is at least as important as winning them. To that end, we help clients audit their own wage and hour practices to develop policies and practices that will stand up to court or agency scrutiny.
Dealing with Government Audits
To an employer, few events are more disconcerting than a government auditor appearing without warning and demanding to see records. We step in to help clients handle such audits and investigations at both the federal and state levels. We walk them through the process and represent them in front of federal and state agencies.
Free Wage and Hour App
One of the things our group is best known for is our free Wage & Hour Guide for Employers app. Introduced in 2012 and regularly updated, the app puts all wage and hour laws—federal and state—at the fingertips of employers.
- Defeated class certification on claims that a national insurance company was the “joint employer” of its vendors’ property inspectors, did not pay for all time worked, denied them meal and rest periods, and provided inaccurate wage statements. After developing a creative strategy to show that the plaintiffs could not establish the elements for class certification, our team was able to reduce the case to just four plaintiffs, then was able to obtain an award of summary judgment as to those four individuals.
- Defeated class certification of claims brought against an ambulance industry client claiming it did not provide adequate meal and rest breaks to paramedics. Our team then convinced the court to strike Private Attorneys General Act representative claims as unmanageable, then persuaded the court of appeal to dismiss the plaintiff’s appeal of those rulings.
- Defeated class certification of claims for unpaid wages, missed meal and rest periods, and inaccurate wage statements brought against a residential housing industry client. By showing that the plaintiff could not establish the elements of class certification, our team reduced the matter to a single-plaintiff case, which they then convinced plaintiff to dismiss voluntarily.
- Obtained summary judgment in a class action brought against a temporary staffing company where the plaintiff claimed the temporary staffing company was vicariously liable for alleged wage and hour violations of its client. Our team’s creative arguments were upheld on appeal, establishing a precedent in California that alleged “joint employers” are not liable for each other’s alleged wage and hour violations.
- Convinced a federal judge to deny the plaintiff’s motion for class certification on claims that a staffing company did not timely pay final wages to more than 1,000 terminated employees in California.
- Brought a declaratory judgment action in federal court in Texas challenging a U.S. Department of Labor interpretation of its tip credit regulations, leading the agency to withdraw the challenged interpretation.
- Succeeded in getting the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to affirm a New York federal judge’s ruling that “black car” drivers in New York City were independent contractors, not employees.
- Obtained a denial of class certification in a lawsuit regarding the payment of prevailing wages and benefits to a proposed class of HVAC technicians who worked on various public works projects throughout New York State.
- Obtained summary judgment for an international financial services firm in Illinois in a lawsuit brought by a floor trader under state law alleging unpaid bonuses and commissions.
- Obtained summary judgment for a technology company in an overtime lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, where an ex-employee challenged his classification as exempt under the administrative exemption.