Minnesota Enacts Legislation Funding Unemployment Coffers, Authorizing Pay to Frontline Workers, and Requiring Notice

On April 29, 2022, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Senate File (S.F.) No. 2677 into law, replenishing the state unemployment coffers and authorizing payments to various frontline workers. This new law requires Minnesota employers to provide notice to eligible frontline workers regarding potential additional benefits available to them.

New York City Council Passes Amended Salary Disclosure Law, Paving the Way for Enactment

On April 28, 2022, the New York City Council passed Int. No. 134-A, which revises Local Law 32, New York City’s previously enacted salary disclosure law. In order to become law, the bill must be signed by New York City Mayor Eric Adams. While the mayor has thirty days to consider the bill, timing is key as the current salary disclosure law is set to take effect on May 15, 2022.

No Vacation From Vacation Pay in Vacationland: Beware, Maine Employers!

In spite of significant opposition from Maine’s business community, including the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and leaders in the tourism, hospitality, and small business communities, Governor Janet Mills signed into law Legislative Document (L.D.) 225, “An Act Regarding the Treatment of Vacation Time upon the Cessation of Employment” on April 7, 2022.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds That FLSA Preempts Wage Act Remedies for Federal Overtime Violations

On April 14, 2022, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled that when an employee pursues and succeeds on a claim for the failure to pay overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the employee may not recover treble damages and other remedies under the Massachusetts Wage Act for the failure to pay those wages.

California Court of Appeal Creates Rift Regarding Trial Courts’ Power to Strike or Limit PAGA Claims for Unmanageability

On March 23, 2022, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Fourth Appellate District, issued the latest ruling on the hotly contested issue of whether a trial court is empowered to dismiss or limit representative claims for alleged violations of the California Labor Code under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) based on manageability concerns.

Massachusetts SJC: Employers Are Strictly Liable for Treble Damages for Late, Pre-Suit Wage Payments

On April 4, 2022, in Reuter v. City of Methuen, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held that employers are strictly liable for treble damages for making late wage payments, even when an employee has not yet filed suit asserting a wage claim. In so holding, the SJC rejected an often-cited trial court decision, Dobin v. CIOview Corp., that employers had long relied upon to correct pre-suit late wage payments by paying unpaid amounts in full, with trebled interest.

New York City Council Proposes Amendments to Pay Transparency Law

On March 24, 2022, the New York City Council took up a new bill, Int. No. 134, which proposes changes to the local law enacted on January 15, 2022, regarding transparent pay practices. The local law, which is currently set to go into effect on May 15, 2022, makes it an “unlawful discriminatory practice” for employers with four or more employees to post job advertisements, internal promotions, or transfer opportunities without setting forth the anticipated salary ranges.

NYC Commission on Human Rights Issues Guidance Regarding Minimum and Maximum Salaries in Job Postings

On March 22, 2022, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) published long-awaited guidance regarding New York City’s salary disclosure law, which requires employers to post the anticipated “minimum and maximum salary” in job advertisements. The law, which was passed on December 15, 2021, and takes effect on May 15, 2022, requires employers to include a “good faith” salary range in any external or internal job posting, as well as promotion or transfer opportunity.

California Employers’ Winning Streak in ‘Suitable Seating’ Cases Continues in Latest Appellate Decision

On February 18, 2022, a California appellate court issued the latest guidance in the continuing saga of statewide “suitable seating” litigation, cementing a significant trial victory for grocers, retailers, and other employers across California.

Eleventh Circuit: Service Charges Are Wages, Not Tips, Under FLSA

On March 18, 2022, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Compere v. Nusret Miami, LLC, a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), that Nusr-et Steakhouse properly used automatically charged fees on bills to pay its employees’ wages because the fees were service charges. The plaintiffs, a group of tipped employees, had argued these fees were not service charges but instead were tips. The distinction is critical because service charges and tips are treated very differently under federal laws and regulations.

Ontario’s Bill 88 Would Establish Electronic Monitoring Policies, Create Rights for Workers on Digital Platforms, and Require Naloxone Kits

On February 28, 2022, the Government of Ontario introduced Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act, 2022. Bill 88 would enact the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022, which would establish rights for workers who offer services through digital platforms. In addition, Bill 88 would amend a number of statutes including the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Oregon Legislation Addresses Workers’ Compensation and Overtime Issues for Agricultural and Manufacturing Employees

The primary employment-related bills passed in Oregon’s 2022 legislative session relate to pay equity and the Workplace Fairness Act. Oregon employers in particular sectors may also want to be aware of recently passed and pending legislation that addresses overtime eligibility for agricultural workers, notice of mandatory overtime shifts for manufacturing employees, and workers’ compensation retroactive benefits and overpayments.

California Court of Appeal Confirms Expansive Reach of Federal Meal and Rest Break Preemption

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the hours of service for drivers of certain property-carrying commercial motor vehicles. The FMCSA’s regulations include meal and rest break rules that generally prohibit drivers from driving if they have gone eight hours without a thirty-minute off-duty or sleeper-berth break. Drivers must also be provided with breaks any time they feel fatigued or are otherwise unable to safely drive.

California Court of Appeal Applies ‘Relation Back’ Doctrine to Substitute PAGA Plaintiff’s Claims Deadline

On February 7, 2022, a California appellate court issued the latest decision regarding the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Representative PAGA actions, which typically involve a relatively brief statute of limitations, permit California employees to collect civil penalties on behalf of the State of California for Labor Code violations committed against them and other employees.

First Circuit Creates Split Regarding Federal Court Jurisdiction Over FLSA Multistate Collective Actions

On January 13, 2022, in Waters v. Day & Zimmermann NPS, Inc., the First Circuit Court of Appeals became the third federal appellate court to address the application of the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective actions. Unlike the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, the First Circuit concluded that a federal court does have personal jurisdiction over claims asserted by nonresident opt-in plaintiffs. The First Circuit’s decision thus creates a split among federal appeals courts and raises the prospect that the Supreme Court will ultimately have to resolve the issue.

New California Bill Aims to Supersize Fast-Food Workers’ Rights

On January 31, 2022, the California State Assembly passed Assembly Bill (AB) No. 257, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act), which would potentially provide increased rights to the state’s more than 500,000 fast-food workers. If passed by the California State Senate and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, the FAST Recovery Act would create the Fast Food Sector Council within the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and add new statutory requirements aimed at holding fast-food franchisors liable for certain actions of its franchisees.

Maine Legislation Would Raise Overtime Salary Threshold to More Than $57,000 in 2025

The Maine Legislature will soon consider a bill that would raise the salary threshold for overtime pay from $38,250 to $57,375 within three years. If enacted, Legislative Document (L.D.) 607 would increase the threshold for salaried overtime pay in Maine every year, from 3,000 percent of the state’s minimum wage (current), up to 4,500 percent of the state’s minimum wage by 2025.

Does the Federal Arbitration Act Preempt California’s Private Attorneys General Act? Supreme Court Takes Up Million-Dollar Question

On March 30, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear the matter of Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, Case No. 20-1573. The Court will answer the question, “Whether the Federal Arbitration Act requires enforcement of a bilateral arbitration agreement providing that an employee cannot raise representative claims, including under PAGA.”

DOL and NLRB Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) May Cause Employer Headaches

On January 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL/WHD) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the agencies to share information, collaborate, and coordinate on investigations of potential violations of federal labor and employment laws. The MOU places particular emphasis on worker misclassification (both independent contractor and joint-employment relationships) and retaliation and represents the latest in the Biden administration’s efforts to ramp up enforcement in these areas.

Washington Governor Clarifies That Employers Are Still ‘Legally Obligated’ to Pay Premiums Under the Washington Cares Act

On December 22, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee sent a letter to Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD) ordering it to not collect premiums under the Washington Cares Fund program until the legislature addresses some of the law’s issues. The letter acknowledged that “legislative leadership has strongly encouraged the employer community to pause collection of premiums from employees.”