Polsinelli at Work |  Labor & Employment Blog

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United States Supreme Court Validates Class and Collective Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements

United States Supreme Court Validates Class and Collective Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements

By: Stan Hill

In a 5-4 decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, No. 16-285, the United States Supreme Court upheld the use of class and collective actions waivers in arbitration agreements.  Employers nationwide may require employees to sign agreements to arbitrate any employment disputes on an individual basis

The majority opinion, written by Justice Gorsuch, found no conflict between the broad mandate to enforce arbitration agreements under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and employees’ rights to bargain collectively under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  Observing that these nearly 100-year-old laws “have long enjoyed separate spheres of influence,” the majority opinion saw no reason to pick one statute over the other.

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Airlines Association Files Another Lawsuit Challenging Massachusetts Paid Sick Leave Law

Airlines Association Files Another Lawsuit Challenging Massachusetts Paid Sick Leave Law

By: Michele Haydel Gehrke

On April 4, 2018, Airlines for America, a trade association and lobbyist organization for U.S. airlines, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Massachusetts against the Massachusetts Attorney General challenging the state’s paid sick leave requirements.  On behalf of its members, Airlines for America seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to invalidate Massachusetts’ Earned Sick Time Law and to prohibit its enforcement with respect to flight crew and ground crew personnel.  This is the second lawsuit filed by the airline association in recent months challenging paid sick leave laws.  In February 2018, Airlines for America filed a similar lawsuit challenging Washington’s paid sick leave law which we discussed here.

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New Legislative Action on "Tip Pooling"

New Legislative Action on "Tip Pooling"

By: Jim Sullivan and Brian Morris

Congress and the President have waded in to the ongoing debate regarding employers’ use of “tip pools” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by passing the Tip Income Protection Act (“TIPA”) as part of the omnibus spending bill.

The FLSA permits an employer to take a partial credit against its minimum wage obligations based on employee tips if the employee retains all of his or her tips, or they are made part of a tip pool shared only with employees who “customarily and regularly receive tips.” See 29 U.S.C. § 203(m). Thus, an employer utilizing a tip credit to comply with minimum wage obligations cannot establish a tip pool that includes non-tipped employees (e.g., back-of-the-house restaurant employees).  The FLSA left the allocation of tips unregulated where an employer did not use tip credits.

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Federal Court Finds Delivery Drivers Independent Contractors; California Supreme Court Next?

Federal Court Finds Delivery Drivers Independent Contractors; California Supreme Court Next?

By: Charles O. Thompson and Garrett Parks

On February 8, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that meal delivery drivers working for GrubHub, Inc. are properly classified as independent contractors and not employees. This closely watched case provides “gig economy” companies with a trial decision and (at least temporary) guidance regarding how to classify certain workers.

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