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Labor Law

Courthouse Steps: Overtime Regulation - Podcast

Litigation and Labor & Employment Practice Groups Podcast
Lawrence VanDyke, D. Michael Hancock, Jesse Panuccio November 28, 2016

In May, the Department of Labor announced a new overtime regulation, which would require all employers to pay overtime to their salaried employees who make under $47,476 annually. The rule was set to take effect on December 1, 2016. However, 21 states filed suit against the federal government claiming that the rule violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and states’ rights by increasing the overtime threshold, which was $23,660 under the FLSA, so drastically and by setting automatic increases to the threshold every three years. The states argue the rule will decrease full-time employment while increasing unemployment and will burden state governments unlawfully under the 10th Amendment by forcing them to conform to the new regulations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business groups also filed their own suit against the law. The cases were consolidated.

On November 16, Judge Mazzant of the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas heard the states' motion for a preliminary injunction to temporarily block the rule. On November 22, Judge Mazzant granted the states’ motion and issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Department of Labor from implementing and enforcing the new rule. Solicitor General Lawrence VanDyke, Michael Hancock of Cohen Milstein, and Jesse Panuccio of Foley & Larner LLP joined us to discuss the court's ruling and the future of the overtime rule under the new administration.

Featuring:

  • Mr. Lawrence Van Dyke, Solicitor General of Nevada
  • D. Michael Hancock, Of Counsel, Cohen Milstein
  • Jesse Panuccio, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP

The Battle for the Gig Economy - Audio/Video

2016 National Lawyers Convention
Mark Brnovich, Mark Floyd, Randel K. Johnson, Bill Samuel, Thomas M. Hardiman November 23, 2016

The “gig" or “on demand" economy may be the fastest growing segment of our economy, with 22.4 million consumers spending $56.6 billion annually. By 2020, according to some studies, 7.6 million Americans will be working as independent contractors in the gig economy. At the same time, however, the U.S. Department of Labor has narrowed standards for classifying workers as independent contractors, and entered enforcement partnerships with 30 States looking to find misclassified independent contractors in order to increase workers' compensation, unemployment and employment tax revenue. A battle has begun between regulators and entrepreneurs, between independent contractor and employee status. This panel will explore who should win, who will win, and whether there is a third way – creating a new legal category, the “independent worker," for those who occupy the grey area between employee and independent contractor. 

This panel was held on November 17, 2016, during the 2016 National Lawyers Convention in Washington, DC.

Labor & Employment Law: The Battle for the Gig Economy
1:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Grand Ballroom 

  • Hon. Mark Brnovich, Attorney General, Arizona
  • Mr. Mark Floyd, Senior Director and Global Relations Lead, Uber Technologies Inc.
  • Mr. Randel K. Johnson, Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Mr. Bill Samuel, Director of Government Affairs, AFL-CIO
  • Moderator: Hon. Thomas M. Hardiman, U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Over-Regulating Overtime? - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
Tammy D. McCutchen, Elizabeth K. Dorminey June 29, 2016

On May 18, 2016, President Obama and the Secretary of Labor announced new overtime regulations that will increase the number of workers receiving overtime to all those making under $913/week. In doing so, 4.2 million more workers will be eligible for overtime by December 1, 2016. Advocates assert that the new regulation will bring more families closer to a living wage. Businesses argue that the regulations will inflict costs they will not be able to cover without decreasing base salaries or lowering the number of employees. Legislation is pending in the House and Senate that would prevent the Department of Labor from passing the regulation until they have completed “full and complete economic analysis” and worked to “minimize the impact on such employers, before promulgating any substantially similar rule” (H.R. 2016). Business interests are mobilizing to file a complaint as well. Our labor and employment experts discusses the case.

Featuring:

  • Tammy D. McCutchen, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson, PC
  • Elizabeth K. Dorminey, Of Counsel, Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine P.C. 

Disparate Impact: Reducing Innovation in the Workplace? - Event Audio/Video

Fourth Annual Executive Branch Review Conference
Gail Heriot, James P. Scanlan, James Sharf, John S. Irving May 20, 2016

The slogan "Personnel is policy" reflects the principle that hiring the right people is one of the most important things that employers do. An employer with an innovative approach to bringing on board the best people has a critical edge over her competition. But the rise of interpretations of federal employment law that basically give the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") veto power over nearly any employment decision means that many creative ideas about hiring will be stillborn. Notably, the EEOC interprets federal civil rights law not just to prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, and age, but also on practices that have a "disparate impact" on members of such groups even if the practice is not actually discriminatory.  Because virtually any job qualification has a disparate impact on members of some such group, this interpretation confers extraordinary powers on the EEOC. Disparate impact is widely believed to have led many employers to abandon paper and pencil tests of cognitive ability. More recently, employers have been discouraged from using the Internet to recruit because racial minorities were thought to lack access to the internet relative to members of other racial and ethnic groups. Further, the EEOC also has put pressure on employers to abandon the use of credit and criminal background checks because of their alleged disparate impact on  racial minorities. This panel will discuss how the metastasis of disparate impact has strangled innovative hiring strategies in these areas as well as others and other perverse consequences of disparate impact's growth.

This panel was presented during the Fourth Annual Executive Branch Review Conference on May 17, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

Featuring:

  • Hon. Gail Heriot, United States Commission on Civil Rights, and Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law
  • Mr. James Scanlan, Attorney at Law
  • Mr. James Sharf, Sharf & Associates
  • Moderator: Mr. John Irving, Of Counsel, Kirkland & Ellis

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Supreme Court Splits 4-4 on Major Union Case -- Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
Richard A. Epstein March 29, 2016

On Tuesday, March 29, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a 4-4 decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The two questions presented were: (1) Whether the Abood precedent should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech. What is the effect of the 4-4 decision? Are there other cases percolating in the circuit courts that might present the same or similar questions to the Court in the near future?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law