Labor & Employment

BLOG: SCOTUS Clarifies Vague Arbitration Clauses Affecting Class Disputes for Growing Businesses

October 10, 2019
By Patrick K. Burns
For most small to medium-sized businesses, the threat of a class action is not usually front-of-mind. However, as a business grows, the threat can increase depending on the number of employees and the nature of the work being performed. Class actions are commonly thought of as involving hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals. However, courts routinely consider much smaller groups of employees, including groups of approximately 40 individuals to be sufficient to establish a class action. To reduce the risk of a class action disrupting business operations and impacting revenue, businesses may want to consider including arbitration clauses in their employment and consumer agreements.

BLOG: Impact of DOL's Changes to FLSA Salary Basis Test on Government Contractors and Commercial Businesses

September 26, 2019
By Nichole D. Atallah
On September 24, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced its final rule to change the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) salary basis test, which is integral to classifying an employee as exempt from overtime payments. In order to designate an employee as FLSA overtime exempt, an employer must ensure that the employee meets both a salary basis test, which establishes a salary threshold, and a duties test, which establishes the types of responsibilities and knowledge required to be eligible for an exemption. The salary basis requirement is currently $455 per week, or $23,660 per year. PilieroMazza previously blogged about the proposed DOL overtime exemption rule here. Effective January 1, 2020, the final rule will increase the threshold amount to $684 per week or $35,568 per year, a slight increase from the originally proposed amount. Employers, including government contractors, with salaried employees making under $35,568 annually need to determine if it makes business sense to convert employees to non-exempt status or to raise their salary. Not understanding this requirement could lead to costly DOL violations.

BLOG: Minimum Wage for Government Contractors Increases January 1, 2020

September 20, 2019
By Nichole D. Atallah
Executive Order 13658, Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors (the Order) established a minimum wage for employees working on, or in connection with, covered government contracts. Each year, the Department of Labor (DOL) assesses the established minimum wage and, using determined methodology, announces an increase. On September 19, the DOL announced the rate would increase to $10.80 per hour on January 1, 2020. The required minimum cash wage that generally must be paid to tipped employees performing work on, or in connection with, covered contracts will increase to $7.55 per hour on January 1, 2020. For government contractors, if your workforce is affected by the increase, you may be eligible for a price adjustment.

BLOG: Building Compliance: Construction Industry Concerns Under FCA

August 28, 2019
By Sarah L. Nash
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has settled and obtained judgments in excess of $2.8 billion for false claims against the government last year. Over $2.1 billion of these cases arose from lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA) which incentivizes whistleblowers to file claims. Government contractors in the construction industry – both primes and subs – face a higher risk of FCA liability because of the complicated nature of construction contracts and prevailing wage obligations. Below we discuss the top FCA issues facing construction contractors and protection strategies for avoiding them.

BLOG: The Big Miss: When Job Misclassification Strikes Hard

August 23, 2019
By Nichole D. Atallah
Everywhere you look companies are being hit hard with claims of misclassification of workers under labor regulations. So far in August 2019, Department of Labor (DOL) has announced over $2 Million in damages paid to employees, and this doesn't even include voluntary settlements handled outside of DOL. In fact, General Dynamics was recently hit with a $170,000 settlement regarding claims that the company misclassified call center workers under the Service Contract Act (SCA). To avoid such penalties and to remain legally compliant, employers—including government contractors—should seek experienced legal counsel to help them properly classify a position, as well as create a system for future classifications.
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