February 11, 2015
Spa technicians at L. Raphael Beauty Spa, located in the Four Seasons New York Hotel in New York City, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court alleging unpaid overtime and tips, and time shaving.
Nail technicians, massage therapists, and hair salon workers claim that their rights under the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”) and New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) were violated for not having been paid at time and a half for their hours worked over 40 in a week. The lawsuit also claims that automatic gratuities charged to customers were never paid to workers and company records reflected inaccurate hours worked. The wage theft lawsuit against L. Raphael Beauty Spa seeks compensation for unpaid wages, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.
January 20, 2015
Laborers and mechanics who worked on federally funded construction projects in New York City will receive $2,904,000 in back wages as a result of a settlement of
Davis-Bacon Act and other labor law violations.
A federal administrative law judge approved a settlement requiring Larino Masonry Inc., based in Newark, New Jersey, to pay $1,945,000 in back wages to workers at –
projects in Manhattan and the Bronx for violating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts
and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. In a separate, but related
case, Larino also agreed to an order to pay $959,000 to workers at projects in Brooklyn and Queens.
Larino admitted that it failed to pay its workers the legally required prevailing wage, fringe benefits and overtime, and submitted falsified certified payrolls to a contracting agency. In addition to paying back wages, Larino and its company’s officers have been barred from bidding on federal contracts for the next three years.
The DBRA requires all contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal and certain federally funded projects to pay their laborers and mechanics the proper prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits, as determined by the secretary of labor.
The CWHSSA requires contractors and subcontractors on federal and federally assisted construction contracts over $100,000 to pay laborers and mechanics employed in the performance of the contracts one and one-half times their basic rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
January 16, 2015
Mariah Carey has been sued by her former personal assistant for overtime violations. The pop singer, one of the best selling music artists of all time, will have to face charges filed by attorneys for her former personal assistant in Manhattan federal court, claiming that the singer has failed to pay overtime wages required both by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York State labor law. The labor laws generally require employers to pay time –
and a half when an employee works more than 40 hours a week. The personal assistant, Ylser Oliver, claims that as a member of Mariah Carey’s she worked between ten to sixteen hours per day, and occasionally more than sixteen hours per day, for six to seven days per week, without receiving overtime pay. Ms. Oliver’s duties included cleaning and organizing Mariah Carey’s living areas, maintaining household supplies, and attending to her personal needs while on performance tours and vacations. Lawyers for Ms. Oliver seek to recover the value of her unpaid overtime wages, damages, and attorneys’ fees.
January 2, 2015
Effective December 31, 2014, the New York State minimum wage rose to $8.75 per hour and the overtime rate for workers making the minimum wage rose to $13.13 per hour. This increase is the second in a series of three annual increases to the New York State minimum wage. The wage increased from $7.25 to $8.00 per hour on Dec. 31, 2013 and on December 31, 2015, it will increase to $9.00 per hour. This hourly wage increase covers most hourly employees in New York State, including cooks, construction workers, and dishwashers.
However, the minimum wage for tipped employees, like waiters, busboys, or bartenders, remains at $5.00 per hour, but the tip credit that an employer may take increased to $3.75 per hour. The overtime rate for tipped employees that work more than forty hours in a week is now $9.38 per hour.
Employers must also display an updated minimum wage information poster where workers can see it and must issue new pay notices to employees whose pay rate increased."
December 15, 2014
The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk held that Amazon warehouse workers were not entitled to pay for the time they spent being screened for theft at the end of their work shifts. Justice Clarence Thomas, ruling for a unanimous Supreme Court, explained that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that workers be paid for activities before and after their shifts only when the activities are “integral and indispensable” to the job they are hired to perform.
Thomas wrote that whether activities are integral and indispensable “is tied to the productive work that the employee is employed to perform.” The Court relied on Department of Labor regulations that employees need not be paid for “checking in and out and waiting on line to do so."
The Supreme Court’s decision examined the Portal-to-Portal Act, which Congress passed in 1947 to exempt companies from having to pay overtime for certain activities that take place before and after a worker’s shift. In prior cases, the Supreme Court found that the time battery plant workers spent showering and changing was compensable because of the presence of toxic chemicals in the plant. Similarly, the Supreme Court held that employees in a meatpacking plant should be paid for sharpening knives because dull knives would make them less effective and damage the appearance of the product. The Integrity Staffing case has important implications for many retail employers. There are more than twenty class action lawsuits pending across the United States filed against Amazon and other companies that use security checks at the end of shifts to make sure that their merchandise is not stolen. A win by the Amazon workers would have opened the door for hundreds of millions of dollars in back pay and damages.
Louis Pechman was quoted in the Wall Street Journal about the decision.
September 26, 2014
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