Judge Vincent Briccetti of the U.S. District Court in White
Plains, New York, recently dismissed a purported collective action
filed by Tiffany Ryan, a former assistant branch manager at
JPMorgan Chase. Ryan sued Chase in June 2012 claiming that she was
misclassified as an exempt employee and denied overtime pay in
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Court ruled that the
binding arbitration agreement that Ryan had signed, which included
a waiver of class or collective actions, required her to submit her
claims to arbitration.
Ryan argued that the Court must defer to the National Labor
Relations Board's decision In re D.R. Horton. In that
case, the NLRB held that waivers of class, collective, or joint
actions in employment contracts violate the National Labor
Relations Act. Accordingly, Ryan argued that the agreement between
Chase and Ryan was unenforceable because of the collective action
waiver. The Court disagreed, finding that the D.R. Horton
decision and the NLRA were both non-persuasive and non-binding.
Citing the Supreme Court's 2011 decision AT&T Mobility
LLC v. Concepcion, and subsequent lower-court rulings based
upon that decision, the Court held that the collective action
waiver contained in Ryan's arbitration agreement was valid and
"At bottom, the Court finds the class waiver is fair, permits
[Ryan] to vindicate her statutory rights under the FLSA, does not
hinder her ability to recover attorney's fees or costs, and
comports with public policy favoring arbitration and honoring
private contracts," Judge Briccetti wrote.
The Court's decision represents an important and much sought
after expansion of the Supreme Court's ruling in
Concepcion, which held that companies can employ class
action waivers in consumer contracts. In the two years since the
Concepcion decision, employers have sought to apply the
Supreme Court's reasoning to analogous class action waivers in
employment contracts. Thus, the decision is likely to be cited
frequently by employers in defending against class and collective
actions in support of similar arbitration agreements.
Sylvia Dahlby, a "purveyor of talent acquisition, staffing management and recruiting business solutions" in Hawaii, commented below on our posts about "lookism," beauty bias, appearance bias, and obesity.
Over $2 million, along with "a very strong consent decree," is the price of settlement of an EEOC same sex sexual harassment (and retaliation) lawsuit action against a New Mexico car dealership on behalf of over 50 men.
Recently issued final regulations on the employer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act clarify and streamline the process for reporting information relating to the provision of minimum essential coverage and health insurance coverage offered under employer-sponsored plans.
I read with interest a recent post by Michael Kun in the Epstein Becker wage hour blog concerning (non-exempt) employees seeking payment for and/or suing for compensation for time spent checking and responding to emails and utilizing other PDAs on (ostensibly) Company business after business hours and on weekends.
On November 2, 2012, we reported that a federal court in Michigan had enjoined the application of the rule of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would have required a "secular, for-profit, family owned and operated corporation" owned by a practicing Catholic to provide employee health insurance that covers contraception.
President Obama Issues Initiative to Expand Overtime Pay
On March 13, 2014, President Barack Obama requested that the Labor Department issue rules that greatly expand the number of workers who will be eligible to receive overtime pay.