Wyatt Employment Law Report

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Is It Time for an Internal Audit to See if Your Company’s Compensation is in Compliance with the Law? What We Can Learn From the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Suit

By Sharon L. Gold

wage increaseThis month, five members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team filed a wage disparity complaint with the EEOC against the U.S. Soccer Federation.  The Women’s team alleges that despite the fact that they are doing equal work, they are not receiving equal pay as the Men’s National Soccer Team.  The Women’s team alleges their top-tier players earn between 38% and 72% of their male counterparts, although the Women’s Team is more successful.  One article noted that in 2015, they were paid far less for winning the tournament than the men were paid to lose their tournament.  The EEOC will investigate the complaint and then make a decision as to the validity of the women’s claims.

The EEOC has jurisdiction over claims alleging discrimination in pay under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII, ADEA, and ADA.  The EPA requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work.  In order for jobs to be considered equal, they must be substantially equal.  In order to make this assessment, the EEOC looks to Continue reading

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Employers: Are you ready to share your pay data with the Feds?

By Leila G. O’Carra

On February 1, 2016, the EEOC published its proposal to add compensation data to EEO-1 submissions, starting in 2017.  Specifically, the new rule would require employers that are subject to EEO-1 reporting and that have 100 or more employees to supply data on employees’ earnings and hours worked.

Employee pay data will be gleaned from W-2 earnings.  The EEOC is seeking input on a method for reporting salaried employees’ hours worked.  The agency does not anticipate requiring employers to track salaried exempt employees’ hours.

Federal agencies plan to use the EEO-1 pay data to assess complaints of discrimination, focus investigations, and identify employers with existing pay disparities that might warrant further examination.  The EEOC expects that the new reporting Continue reading

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Kentucky Court of Appeals Holds that Plaintiffs Have the Burden of Proving Missed Meal Breaks

By Mitzi D. Wyrick

In Hisle, et al. v. Correctcare – Integrated Health, Inc., Ky. App. (June 12, 2015), the Kentucky Court of Appeals addressed the issue of what test applies when employees claim to have missed meal breaks.  Plaintiffs, who were nurses and medication aids employed at a prison, sued under the Kentucky wage and hour laws alleging that they were denied rest and meal breaks and were therefore entitled to additional compensation.  PB&JPlaintiffs based their claim on the fact that they had to carry or monitor a handheld two-way radio while working inside the prison facilities, including during their 30-minute lunch breaks, which were automatically deducted from their time.

The trial court held that merely monitoring the radio during meal breaks did not amount to a denial of a meal break if employees could comfortably and adequately spend their mealtime and their time was not devoted primarily to official responsibilities.  At trial, the plaintiffs claimed that Continue reading

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United States Supreme Court to Revisit Class Action Issues

By Michelle D. Wyrick

Last week, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146, which gives the Court an opportunity to consider class certification questions about how damages may be proven in a class action and whether a class can include members who were not injured.

Tyson Foods is a donning and doffing case in which the lower court certified collective and class actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law. The plaintiffs, who were hourly production workers at an Iowa processing facility, alleged that Tyson Foods did not adequately compensate them for time spent donning and doffing protective equipment and walking to and from their work stations. Although Tyson Foods did not record the time actually spent by each employee on these tasks, it added several minutes per shift to each employee’s paycheck to compensate them.

At trial, to prove damages, the workers relied on individual time sheets and compared them to a time study of a sample of employees who were observed donning, doffing, and walking. The jury returned a verdict for Continue reading

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Walmart Announces Wage Increases

By Colby F. Block

On Thursday, Walmart announced several changes to its compensation and benefits structure—the most noticeable being its hourly wage increase. Walmart states that, by April 2015, its entry-level wage will start at $9 an hour, and it will go up to $10 an hour by early 2016.

Other new measures include additional training and opportunities for internal promotion, which Walmart CEO Doug McMillon states will create clearer paths to better jobs and higher pay.

wage increaseThese changes are significant—Walmart is the largest private employer in the country, and this will increase wages for 500,000 of its employees. The cost to Walmart over the next year is projected at one billion dollars, but this number is actually small considering the company’s almost $500 billion in annual revenue.

Walmart’s announcement has already created quite the media frenzy. And some—noting that it is not altruism behind these changes—are already questioning Walmart’s motives. Walmart is a business, after all, so there is a bottom line. Is the goal to Continue reading