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In a decision issued earlier this month, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that participants in unpaid internship programs offered by the Hearst Corporation could not be classified as “employees” of Hearst and therefore were not entitled to compensation for their internships under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The Second Circuit’s decision in Wang v. Hearst Corp., No. 16-3302 (2d Cir. 2017) (available here) affirmed a 2016 decision by U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken granting summary judgment for Hearst and dismissing the claims of lead plaintiff Xuedan Wang and four other college-age individuals working as unpaid interns for Hearst’s various print magazines. The Second Circuit made clear reference to the case’s underlying significance, framing the question raised on appeal as “whether Hearst furnishes bona fide for‐credit internships or whether it exploits student‐interns to avoid hiring and compensating entry-level employees.”
Continue Reading Second Circuit Court of Appeals Rules That Hearst Interns Are Not Employees

On June 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Office of Labor-Management Standards published a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding its intention to rescind the so-called “persuader rule,” moving the DOL one step closer to withdrawing the controversial regulation introduced by the Obama administration.
Continue Reading Department of Labor Moves To Rescind “Persuader Rule” with Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Last year the New York legislature and New York Department of Labor amended several employment laws implementing changes that took effect at the end of 2016 or are set to take effect early this year.  This post summarizes the new and updated legal requirements included in those amendments to help New York employers comply in 2017.
Continue Reading New Year, New Rules for Employers Doing Business in New York

On April 20, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a long-standing precedent when it held in Greathouse v. JHS Security Inc., that an internal oral complaint could be sufficient to demonstrate protected activity and form the basis for a retaliation claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  While this change altered over 20 years of precedent in the Second Circuit, it is consistent with how most other Circuits already interpret the FLSA retaliation provision.
Continue Reading What is Retaliation in the Second Circuit Under the FLSA?

Under a proposal recommended by the state’s Wage Board on Friday, January 30, 2015, tipped workers in New York state, including restaurant servers and hospitality workers, would have their minimum hourly wage increased to $7.50 per hour before tips.
Continue Reading New York Wage Board Recommends $7.50 Hourly Wage for Tipped Workers

On January 14, 2015, in a case of first impression, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department held that an employee can sufficiently demonstrate his membership in a protected class by virtue of his association with another person – in this case, his wife.  In Jeffrey Chiara v. Town of New Castle, 2015 Slip Op. 00326 (2d Dep’t Jan. 14, 2015), the Second Department held that Chiara could show he was discriminated against by the Town of New Castle based on religion as a result of his marriage to a Jewish person, even though he was not Jewish himself.  In so holding, the Second Department reversed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to the Town with respect to Chiara’s claim that he was subject to religious discrimination when he was terminated.
Continue Reading Appellate Division Panel Issues Ruling Broadly Interpreting New York State Human Rights Law

On November 12, 2014, in Greg Landers v. Quality Communications Inc., the Ninth Circuit clarified a previously unsettled point of law by confirming that Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) pleadings must meet the specificity requirements established in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).  Affirming the dismissal of a proposed class action against cable services company Quality Communications Inc. for unpaid overtime wages, the three-judge panel ruled that the trial court had acted properly in dismissing the suit because, in light of Twombly and Iqbal, the plaintiff’s pleadings lacked sufficient specificity to state a claim under the FLSA.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rules That Twombly Standard of Specificity Applies to FLSA Pleadings

The White House announced last week that President Barack Obama is preparing to issue an executive order prohibiting government contractors from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Federal contractors are already barred from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender or national origin.  The expected executive order will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.
Continue Reading Expected Executive Order Protecting LGBT Employees has Implications for Employers

For over two years, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) fought to require employers to post in their workplaces a notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  Those efforts met with stiff opposition from employers, and now appear to have come to an end.
Continue Reading NLRB Abandons Fight Over Mandatory Workplace Poster Rule