California Supreme Court to Review Meal and Rest Period Premium Calculation Case

The Supreme Court of California recently agreed to review the California Court of Appeal’s decision in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, 40 Cal. App. 5th 1239 (2019), as limited to the following question: Did the Legislature intend the term “regular rate of compensation” in Labor Code section 226.7, which requires employers to pay a wage premium if they fail to provide a legally compliant meal period or rest break, to have the same meaning and require the same calculations as the term “regular rate of pay” under Labor Code section 510(a), which requires employers to pay a wage premium for each overtime hour?

Party of One: Collective Action Against Outback Steakhouse Denied due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied conditional class action certification in a case involving a front of house (FOH) manager suing Outback Steakhouse for unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court applied the Supreme Court of the United States’ reasoning in its 2017 decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, which involved a class action in California state court by a purported class of more than 600 plaintiffs, most of whom were not California residents.

Washington Supreme Court Approves Trucking Industry Piece-Rate Compensation Practices

Last year, the Washington Supreme Court considered the following certified question: “Does the Washington Minimum Wage Act require non-agricultural employers to pay their piece-rate employees per hour for time spent performing activities outside of piece-rate work?” On September 5, 2019, the court answered with a resounding no.

Fifth Circuit Rules that Courts, Not Arbitrators, Decide “Gateway Issue” of Class Arbitrability

In 20/20 Communications, Inc. v. Crawford, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that the question of whether a dispute can be arbitrated on a class-wide basis is a threshold issue that is presumptively for a court, not an arbitrator, to decide. This is the latest in a series of decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States and courts of appeals in favor of arbitration agreements that waive class procedures.

The Supreme Court Rules on Class Action Removal Limits for Third-Party Counterclaim Defendants

In Home Depot U. S. A., Inc. v. Jackson, No. 17-1471 (May 28, 2019), the Supreme Court of the United States addressed whether third-party counterclaim defendants in class actions have authority under the general removal provision 28 U.S.C. Section 1441(a) or the removal provision in the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. Section 1453(b), to remove their underlying cases to federal courts.

Key Takeaways From an ERISA Fiduciary Breach Ruling on Behavioral Standards of Care After a 10-Day Trial

Behavioral health claims administrators and plan sponsors alike may be looking more closely at their care guidelines—and how they are applied—after a federal court ruled in a California class action that a claims administrator had breached its fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) by applying standards of care that were more restrictive than generally accepted standards and by improperly prioritizing cost savings.

Seventh Circuit Joins Sister Circuits in Holding That Courts, not Arbitrators, Should Decide the Availability of Class Arbitration

In a matter of first impression before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals involving an issue left open by the Supreme Court of the United States, a Seventh Circuit panel issued an opinion on a key threshold question of class arbitrability. The question was who decides—a court or an arbitrator—whether arbitration can proceed on a class or collective basis.

An Epic Checklist: What to Consider When Adopting Class Action Waivers in Employment Arbitration Agreements

In Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis, the Supreme Court of the United States held that class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement are enforceable. Yet, arbitration agreements containing such waivers may still be challenged on a variety of grounds. The law in this area is often unsettled or unclear and changes frequently. The following checklist identifies key issues employers may want to consider when adopting a class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement.

SCOTUS Rules Equitable Tolling Does Not Save Successive Class Action Lawsuits

On June 11, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark decision in China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh, addressing a split in the federal circuit courts of appeal, arising from differing applications of the equitable tolling rules articulated in two prior Supreme Court decisions, American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah (1974) and Crown, Cork & Seal Co. v. Parker (1983)

Compensation Policies Under Scrutiny: Federal Court Conditionally Certifies Class of Female Faculty Physicians in EPA Case

On September 28, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois granted conditional collective action certification in Ahad v. Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University, a case under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) brought on behalf of female faculty physician employees of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and SIU Physicians & Surgeons, Inc.

Emanuel’s Confirmation Launches a New Era at the NLRB

September 25, 2017, marks a significant turning point in the recent saga of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Eight months into the Trump administration, the U.S. Senate confirmed William J. Emanuel to fill the long-vacant and tie-breaking fifth seat on the Board.

Kentucky Supreme Court Opens the Door to State Wage and Hour Class Actions

On August 24, 2017, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued its long-awaited decision in McCann, et al. v. The Sullivan University System, Inc., No. 2015-SC-000144-DG (2017), surprising many by overruling the Court of Appeals decision below and opening the door to class actions in Kentucky state courts for alleged violations of Kentucky’s wage and hour statute.

The Top Employment Cases of 2017 and a Sneak Peek at 2018

And the biggest employment case of 2017 . . . is not here yet. The reality: Everyone will be eagerly waiting another four to six months for the biggest and most-anticipated employment case of 2017: class action waivers. While the Supreme Court of the United States’ taking certiorari in January 2017 and likely issuing its decision in late 2017/early 2018—unequivocally the biggest thing 2017 will see, several other cases and developments so far in 2017 are worthy of discussion.

California Supreme Court Gives PAGA Plaintiffs Broad Right to Contact Information; Recognizes Employee Burden to Show “Manageability”

On July 13, 2017, the Supreme Court of California issued a unanimous opinion in Williams v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Marshalls of CA, LLC), holding that a representative plaintiff in a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) case does not need to show good cause at the outset of litigation before the employer is required to produce the names and contact information of other allegedly aggrieved employees.

Class Action Waiver Update: Will a Switch in Time Persuade Nine?

It was no surprise when, on June 16, 2017, numerous business and employer groups (including several represented by Ogletree Deakins) filed over a dozen amicus briefs supporting the employers in the three class action waiver cases pending in the Supreme Court of the United States: National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, and Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris.