Applebee’s bid fails to overturn district court’s deference to DOL field handbook interpretation of tip credit 20-percent rule

In a significant ruling for the restaurant industry, in which advocates for both services and restaurant employers weighed in, a district court properly granted deference to the DOL’s interpretation of the FLSA’s tip credit provision and its 20-percent work test as contained in the agency’s Field Operations Handbook, the Eighth Circuit ruled (Fast v Applebee’s […]

Only one in six employers favor a universal health care system funded by tax dollars

Despite concerns about the impact of rising health care costs on their businesses and employees, only one in six employers (16.3 percent) say they favor a federally tax-funded universal health care system, according to the 2011 UBA Benefit Opinions Survey. Nearly all (99.4 percent) top decision makers are concerned with the impact of health care […]

Declining to articulate a bright-line rule, court finds employer did not discriminate against employee fresh out of drug rehab

Because he failed to rebut his former employer’s evidence showing that more time was required for him to reach a stable state in his recovery, an employee could not go to trial on his ADA claim that he was discriminated against on the basis of his status as a drug addict, ruled the Tenth Circuit […]

Incentive plan letter made clear employer’s intent not to be bound; contract claims for commission payments and separation pay properly dismissed

Because an incentive letter made clear that IBM did not intend to enter into an enforceable contract to make incentive payments, a former employee could not succeed on contract or promissory estoppel claims based upon the letter and the incentive plan it outlined, ruled the Tenth Circuit (Geras v Int’l Bus Machs Corp, April 18, […]

Walmart will pay $440,000 to settle EEOC allegations of national origin harassment at Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club, the wholesale chain store owned and operated by Walmart, will pay $440,000 to settle a Title VII national origin harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to an agency statement on April 14, 2011. The suit filed by the commission in May 2009 alleged that at least nine […]

Wage-Hour Division’s final rule conforms FLSA regs to statutory amendments; rejects several rule changes originally proposed in 2008

The DOL’s Wage-Hour Division published a final rule on Tuesday, April 5, amending the agency’s Fair Labor Standards Act regulations in order to conform the rules to statutory amendments to the FLSA and Portal to Portal Act dating back to 1974. However, some of the substantive rule revisions initially proposed by the Labor Department under […]

Time spent by meat processing workers donning/doffing PPE was properly excluded from paid workday; claim for compensability of walking time, waiting time goes forward

Because the personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by workers at a beef processing plant constitutes “clothes” within the meaning of the FLSA, the time spent by the workers in the pre- and post-shift donning and doffing of the equipment was properly excluded by their employer from their paid workday pursuant to the terms of their […]

Transgender employee can maintain sexual harassment, hostile work environment claims against Home Depot; supervisors failed to take action in response to verbal, physical threats by coworkers

After being subjected to threats of violence and verbal abuse, a Home Depot employee who described herself as “intersexed” or a “partial hermaphrodite” proffered sufficient evidence to defeat the home improvement store’s summary judgment motion on her hostile work environment sexual harassment claim (Hughes v The Home Depot, Inc, April 11, 2011, Irenas, J). However, […]

Ninth Circuit affirms injunction barring enforcement of Arizona immigration law provisions

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled on Monday, April 11, that a federal court in Arizona did not abuse its discretion when it blocked the state of Arizona from enforcing key provisions of its controversial immigration law pending a challenge to the measure by the Obama Administration. The lower court properly concluded that […]

Pregnant employee failed to show attendance demands made working conditions intolerable

Summary judgment for an employer on a female employee’s constructive discharge claim was affirmed because she failed to show her working conditions were intolerable or give her employer a reasonable opportunity to remedy the situation, ruled the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (Trierweiler v Wells Fargo Bank, April 8, 2011, Murphy, D). The employee contended […]