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August 2014 Archives

Court: Late Payments to Government Shutdown Workers Violated the Fair Labor Standards Act

In 2013, following rancorous disputes between the Obama Administration and congressional Republicans, the federal government partially shut down from October 1 through October 16. Note the word "partially" - since a total shutdown would have resulted in unprecedented chaos, federal employees were divided into two groups. "Non-excepted" employees performed supposedly non-essential government functions, and were told to stay home during the shutdown. "Excepted" employees - prison guards, border agents, and various other groups employed in safety and protective functions - still had to work. Unfortunately for those employees, it was unclear at the time when, exactly, they would be paid for this work.

Filing qui tam claims under the False Claims Act

Fraud against the federal government is committed in a variety of ways. If you are an employee of an individual or company that defrauds the federal government, then you have a right under the Federal Civil False Claims Act (FCA) to bring a lawsuit against your employer on behalf of the government and yourself. This kind of civil action is called a qui tam claim. Let's briefly discuss why and how qui tam lawsuits are filed.

Second Circuit Defines "Volunteers" Excluded from Labor Protections

In a decision handed down June 18, the Second Circuit, the federal appellate court covering New York State, delineated and refined exactly what constitutes a "volunteer," a category of worker excluded from the protections of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. In a time where more and more high school and college graduates are accepting unpaid positions when they are unable to find work, the decision comes as a stark reminder of the importance of labor laws.

LinkedIn employees receive overtime back-pay, other damages

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay non-salaried, non-exempt employees at least a minimum hourly wage of $7.25. States can set the minimum wage higher, though the federal minimum is currently $7.25. The FLSA also requires employers to pay 150 percent of a non-salaried employee's regular compensation rate for every hour that exceeds 40 in a single work week. These wage and hour laws are meant to ensure that workers receive the compensation they earn.

Sexual harassment of unpaid interns banned under New York law

Until recently, only Washington, D.C., and Oregon gave unpaid interns the right to sue over sexual harassment. Under federal law, only workers classified as "employees" are protected from sexual harassment in the workplace, and unpaid interns have historically not been given the "employee" designation. States, however, can pass their own laws to protect unpaid workers.

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