wage and hour laws Archives

Chipotle employee files lawsuit seeking overtime pay

A lawsuit seeking class action status on behalf of employees of the fast food restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill claims that the company ignored a federal overtime rule that was to become effective on Dec. 1, 2016. A challenge in a Texas court has held up enforcement of the rule, but the lawsuit asserts that private employers were not part of the injunction.

Courts disagree over basing pay on salary history

While many Texas residents will have been asked about their salary histories on job applications, few may know that the courts have been unable to agree on whether or not companies can rely on this information alone to set pay. The 10th and 11th Circuits have ruled that employers should weigh other considerations when making these decisions, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has bucked this trend. The court ruled on April 27 that a California county did nothing wrong when it decided to pay a math consultant less than her male colleagues simply because she had earned less than them in the past.

Overtime pay exemptions in Houston

A group of service adviser employees at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in California sued their employer in 2012 for missing overtime pay. The group stated that they were not exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the way that mechanics and salespeople are. In 2013, a district court ruled in favor of the dealership, and the employees appealed the decision.

Obama-era overtime rule's fate still up in the air

The legal status of a new federal overtime rule that was supposed to have taken effect on Dec. 1 of last year is still far from certain. Whether the rule, which would significantly increase the number of employees eligible for overtime pay, will ever take effect in its original form depends largely on the outcome of a federal court case and on the new Trump administration.

Ruling may affect FLSA claims involving retaliation

A ruling recently issued by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals may make it more difficult for employers who are embroiled in lawsuits pertaining to Fair Labor Standards Act violations. Workers in Texas and the rest of the country who have been retaliated against by an employer may recover financial damages for emotional injury.

Employee lunch breaks

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers in Houston and nationwide must compensate employees for all the time they work or are permitted to work. However, businesses often question if an employee is required to be compensated during times they are not actually working but restrictions are placed on their activities, such as during meal breaks.

New overtime rule put on hold by judge

A judge from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas placed a hold on a new overtime rule that was set to take effect on Dec. 1. For now, the current exempt salary cutoff imposed by the Fair Labor Standards Act will remain in place. The fate of the rule change may rest on the final decision of the judge who put the freeze in place.

Whistle blowing and retaliation in the workplace

No employee should ever feel intimidated or fear retaliation because he or she reported a wage-related complaint to an employer or the Department of Labor. In fact, federal law protects employees from such action by their employers. Nonetheless, in 2015, the owners of a Texas restaurant fired their cook who had worked for the restaurant 13 years because they assumed he issued a wage-related complaint to a federal agency, although he never did.

Implementation of new overtime rule delayed

Many workers in the Houston area are able to increase the size of their paychecks by working overtime hours. Federal wage and hour laws require employers to pay workers one and one-half times their regular hourly pay for all working hours that exceed 40 hours for one week. However, there are some exceptions to the overtime pay rule for certain white-collar workers.

How to ensure equal pay for equal work

Equal pay for equal work may seem like a commonsense way to compensate employees. However, employers in Texas and elsewhere are proving that it is a difficult goal to accomplish. For example, Massachusetts women earn only 82 percent of what men earn while black and Latina women earn even less. Both historical biases as well as an unwillingness to engage in workplace conflict may explain why the wage gap exists at all.

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