Category archive: Fair Labor

Pay Me! Should Interns be Paid? A New Test

Plaintiffs were unpaid interns on the Fox Searchlight distributed film Black Swan. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found the Black Swan interns were employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law. The court applied a version of the U.S. Labor Department’s six factor test, which was derived from the 68 year-old Supreme Court decision Walling v. Portland Terminal Co., 330 U.S. 148 (1947), to determine whether the interns fell within an exception for unpaid trainees.

Employer Alert: OSHA Speaks Out on Transgender Bathroom Guidelines

On June 1, 2015, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released “A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers”. Under current federal law, employers are required to provide all employees reasonable access to restroom facilities. Now under OSHA’s “model practices” for employers to follow when providing access to restrooms by transgender employees, including:

When Discretion is not Discretion

On March 17, 2015, the Illinois Appellate Court (First District, Second Division) issued an Opinion which was interesting because it gave life to the often-cited covenant of good faith and fair dealing in a contract. While this so-called covenant is often mentioned and discussed, few cases actually operationalize the concept, and rarely does a case base a cause of action on the covenant.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to DOL “Administrator’s Interpretation” That Mortage-Loan Employess Are Non-Exempt Hourly Employees

In 2004, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) updated its regulations addressing the various white collar overtime exemptions. In part, the DOL identified a number of employees which may be exempt under the “administrative exemption.” One of the specific examples listed in the regulations, 29 CFR § 541.203(b), were employees “in the financial services industry,” provided such employee did not have as his or her primary duty the selling of financial products.

Minimum Wage Increases Sweeping The Country In 2015

While the federal minimum wage remains unchanged at $7.55 per hour, both “red” and “blue” states continue to increase the required minimum wage rate under state law above the federal minimum wage rate on an increasing basis. As we previously reported, the minimum wage for Missouri employers increased on January 1, 2015 to $7.65 per hour. While there were efforts by the Illinois legislation to increase the state minimum wage rate to over $10.00 per hour in 2015, it was unable to pass both houses.

Supreme Court Explains Compensable Time

On December 9, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case addressing when preliminary or postliminary activities at work are compensable under the FLSA.

Increasing Efforts to Protect Transgender Workers

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits covered employers from making employment decisions based on an individual’s sex/gender. This year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Labor (DOL) and President Obama continued the ongoing efforts to expand employment protection to transgender workers.

New Federal & State Laws That Go Into Effect on January 1, 2015


Executive Order 1365817: Government Contractors — Minimum wage increases to $10.10 per hour for employees of certain government contractors; increases minimum wage of tipped employees to $4.90 per hour.
Affordable Care Act’s Shared Responsibility Provision— the ACA’s employer “pay-or-play” mandate will apply to larger firms with 100 or more full-time employees. W

EMPLOYER ALERT- NLRB Extends Employees’ Right to Engage in Protected and Concerted Activity to Employer’s E-mail Systems

The National Labor Relations Board in its continued effort to assist labor unions and employee unionization efforts has provided employees with an effective organizing tool—their employer’s own email systems. In 2007, the NLRB in Register Guard held “employees can have no statutory right to use their employer’s email systems for Section 7 purposes.

Thought About What the U.S. Supreme Court Is Up To Lately? You Should

Just in case you haven’t heard, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to consider a number of cases this term which could have significant impact on employers. Here are some of the notable cases:

Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, heard October 8, 2014:

Is time spent by warehouse workers in security screenings at the end of their work shift compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Young v. United Parcel Services, Inc., to be argued December 3, 2014:

Are employers required to offer the same type of accommodation to qualified pregnant employees as they do to non-pregnant employees, like for example, light duty work?

EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., to be argued:

Whether an employer can be liable under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a “religious observance and practice” (that is inconsistent with its dress code) only if the employer has actual notice and knowledge that a religious accommodation is requested?

King v. Burwell, to be argued:

Are tax subsidies available to individuals who purchase their health insurance on an exchange operated by the federal government where there is no state-run exchange?

Stay tuned.


St. Louis  |  Clayton  |   Kansas City


Alton  |  Carbondale  |  Edwardsville  |  O'Fallon

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.
This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. © 2014 Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. All Rights Reserved.