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California Court Finds Teacher Employment Statutes Unconstitutional

July 11, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com) and James M. Andris (Summer Associate) (jandris@hillwallack.com )

In a decision that has sparked interest from the beaches of Malibu to the beaches of Sea Isle, a Los Angeles County, California Superior Court ruled that three teacher employment laws – California’s Permanent Employment, Dismissal, and LIFO (last in, first out) Statutes – were unconstitutional.*[1]

Decided on June 10, 2014, the case, Vergara v. California, was brought by nine California public school students claiming that the statutes resulted in “grossly ineffective teachers” attaining tenured positions which disproportionately affected low income and minority students. The Court agreed, ruling that the three statutes violated the children’s fundamental right to equality of education. (more…)

Fair Labor Standards Act Violations cost Chickie’s and Pete’s $6.8 Million

March 6, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

Our region’s beloved sport’s bar and Crabfries architect, Chickie’s and Pete’s has signed a consent judgment agreeing to pay $6,842,412  for back wages and damages for violations of federal minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements, and for improperly taking tips from its servers.  The United Stated Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced the result of its year-long investigation into the company in a News Release dated February 20, 2014.  The News Release is available on the DOL website at:  http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20140044.htm.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) sets out the federal minimum wage requirement of $7.25 per hour.  If an employee total earning with tips and its base wage do not equal the minimum wage requirement, the employer is required to make up the difference during that pay period. However, because servers typically earn tips, the restaurant owner can claim a “tip credit” and pay the employee a base wage of only $2.13.  The presumption is that the employee will receive tips that cover the difference up to the full minimum wage. (more…)

College Football Players Attempt to Unionize

March 6, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

To continue with sports/labor theme, I want to discuss a unique labor law issue that arose just this January:  Can student athlete unionize?

Football players at Northwestern University, represented by advocacy group the National College Players Association, filed a union election petition with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”).[1] The NLRB has statutory jurisdiction private sector employers and alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), which, among other things, guarantees employees the right to form a labor organization and/or join together to improve terms and conditions of employment without a union. As a private university with activities in interstate commerce, Northwestern University is subject to the NLRA. (more…)

NFL Cheerleaders file FLSA Claims

February 17, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

NFL cheerleaders have recently filed two lawsuits against their NFL football team employers, alleging that the football teams failed to compensate them for actual hours worked and provided wages that were grossly below the minimum wage requirement.  The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) obligates covered employers to pay their employees a wage equal to at least $7.25.  FLSA further requires employers to pay employees for each hour that they work.  State laws provide equal, if not more stringent, wage and hour requirements.  The U.S. Department of Labor and state labor departments are responsible for investigating and enforcing wage and hour laws, but individuals maintain the right to bring direct legal actions against their employers for violations of the laws. (more…)

The Affordable Care Act – Employer Penalties Postponed Again

February 17, 2014

By: Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

On February 10, 2014, the Treasury Department issued a press release advising that Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) have issued final regulations implementing the employer responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) that take effect in 2015. These regulations, among other things, delay and relax the employer-provided healthcare mandate.

The ACA requires employers with an equivalent of 50 or greater full-time employees (referred to as “Large Employers”) to provide affordable health benefits to all or virtually all full-time workers.  Failure to offer any healthcare coverage would result in a penalty of $2,000 per full time employees, less 30 ($2,000 x (FTE-30)).  Where a Large Employer fails to offer affordable coverage, it is subject to a penalty in the sum of the above-described penalty or $3,000 multiplied by the full time employees who received a tax credit through the healthcare exchange, whichever is less. (more…)

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