BLOGS: Fair Labor Standards Act Law

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Thursday, November 20, 2008, 4:34 PM

BusBoy Demands Sauce from Justin Timberlake's Restaurant and Other Recent FLSA Cases

Not all activities related to business are declining these days, in fact, some areas are booming. More and more federal court judges are being kept busy by the ongoing tide of new FLSA cases. This week has brought FLSA attorneys and watchers some new cases to track, with a former busboy at Southern Hospitality, the New York City BBQ restaurant owned by Justin Timberlake, filing a compliant proposing a class action for violations of FLSA and New York State Department of Labor regulations. The complaint alleges that the restaurant failed to pay minimum wage or overtime and further withheld the tips automatically added to patron's bills on parties of six or more. The restaurant, and not the wait staff, allegedly received all or some of the automatic 20% gratuity for large parties. The complaint alleges this tip redistribution bilked busboys out of tips while overtime was routinely not paid on the busboys 10-hour shifts. The case is Felipe Santiago Ramales Individually and on Behalf of All Other Persons Similarly Situated v. Justin Timberlake, et al., case number 08-cv-9890 (U.S.D.C. S.D.N.Y. November 14, 2008).

A former security employee of Brink's Inc. filed a complaint in federal district court in the Southern District of Florida for allegedly FLSA violations and purporting to seek a class action. The plaintiff alleged that he and other similarly situated coworkers routinely worked over 60 hours a week, but were never compensated for more than 40 hours per week. The plaintiff was an hourly employee, who had worked for Brinks over nine years. The complaint broadly seeks unpaid overtime compensation, liquidated damages, costs and attorneys' fees on behalf of all similarly situated current and former employees. Click here to read the complaint in Hernandez v. Brink's Inc., case number 08-cv-23208 (U.S.D.C. S.D. Fla. Nov. 18, 2008).

The salesman selling Marriott International Inc. timeshares sued the company for overtime compensation alleging that Marriott misclassified the salespeople as exempt employees. While the plaintiff was employed by Marriott, he was paid a daily base wage, plus commissions and personal bonuses. The plaintiff routinely worked 50 hours per week, but prior to June 2007 was not paid for any overtime. The plaintiff was fired by Marriott approximately a month ago and now has sued on behalf of himself and other similarly situated timeshare salespeople who worked for Marriott for the three years prior to June 2007. The complaint seeks overtime compensation, liquidated damages and attorneys' fees. This case is analogous to the FLSA lawsuits brought against various pharmaceutical companies by their outside sales representatives and it will be interesting to watch whether the same defenses are raised and successful in litigation. Click here to read this case, Gibbs v. Marriott International, Inc., case number 08-cv-81373.

Like Marriott, McAfee Inc. is now facing a potential collective FLSA action by its sales force who are claiming that salespeople routinely work in excess of 40 hours per week without overtime compensation in violation of the FLSA. The plaintiff seeks to represent a class of all current and former sales force employees of McAfee in the past three years. This FLSA suit joins McAfee's ongoing backdating of stock options are current legal woes for the virus-protecting software giant. Click here to read the complaint filed in Thomas v. McAfee Inc., case number 08-cv-429 (U.S.D.C. E.D. Tex. Nov. 17, 2008).

These cases and other recently filed complaints confirm that business is booming for plaintiffs' law firms on FLSA compliance. They serve as a reminder that a compliance audit of labor practices on an annual basis is not only good practice, but also essential in today's legal climate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008, 1:15 PM

Understanding TARP Audioconference - November 20

Congress has approved the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) to address the nation's recent financial crisis. But many of the details of that relief package remain a work in progress. Particularly in question is the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), the $700 billion in "rescue" funding. How exactly will that money be used? Find out more about this topic during an audioconference entitled "Understanding TARP: Opportunities and Challenges for the Mortgage Market." The audiconference will be held on Thursday, November 20th from 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET.

Click here to learn more about this event.

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