Wage and Hour

Overview

"Very client-oriented, and a strong talent in the labor and employment arena."

– Chambers USA 2012

Employment-related class action lawsuits have grown exponentially over the past five years. Virtually all aspects of employee compensation have become the target of collective and individual actions in both state and federal courts and ongoing changes in regulations are making compliance increasingly complicated. How can employers stay on top of these issues?

You need well-informed and well-managed representation to effectively meet what are the otherwise burdensome disruptions in time, budgets and employee relations that can arise from wage and hour litigation and compliance challenges. With potentials for large recoveries, adverse publicity and expensive litigation that can threaten your company's bottom line and reputation, you need a full service firm that can help you mitigate risks and stay on top of the ever-changing rules and regulations.

At BakerHostetler, we provide sophisticated, nuanced and creative case management at the outset and at every stage, from preventative advice and counsel and audits to individual, class and collective litigation.

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How do our clients benefit?

Our extensive experience in the wage-and-hour area coupled with our proven track record of successfully defending class, collective and representative actions make us uniquely qualified to effectively handle complex wage claims on behalf of our clients.

Our attorneys develop successful defenses for clients facing unusual and large-scale cases, ranging from employee misclassification, unpaid overtime, off-the-clock work and missed meal and rest period issues, to tip pooling and improper deductions from paychecks, among others.

We resolve many class and collective action cases before any full-scale attempt at notice/certification, denying plaintiff’s counsel an opportunity to seek or recover significant fees. When settlement is not an option or otherwise is not in a client’s best interest, we focus on forestalling notice and/or defeating certification.

We are known for our ability to end class actions before they begin.

We help clients fully comply with federal and state wage and hour laws.

We also understand that dealing with wage and hour issues, if they arise, is only half of the battle. Our attorneys offer thoughtful guidance for our clients in the interest of avoiding litigation. We conduct comprehensive wage and hour audits, review and where necessary revamp policies and advise clients on the proper classification of employees and independent contractors.

We also help our clients structure sound policies for off-the-clock work, pay and payroll practices, recording hours worked, vacation and paid-time off practices, commission and bonus plans, tip credits, overtime, meal and rest breaks, and wage deduction issues, among others.

With wage and hour claims, there are always nuances and new trends. Whether the issues are related to unpaid interns, tax implications that result from misclassifying employees as exempt, or telecommunicating and how best to keep track of compensable time—our attorneys spot the trends and prepare our clients.

From a geographical perspective, wage and hour settlements are on the rise in California. Our team in Los Angeles, and nationally, is well versed with California’s rules and regulations for today’s workforces.

Select Experience

  • Defeated certification of a class of over 4,500 employees of a video-rental chain who alleged that they were required to perform compensable tasks after clocking out. A federal judge in Illinois ruled that our attorneys had successfully demonstrated that the plaintiffs’ claims were inconsistent and varied by store and by supervisor.
  • Won decertification of a class of over 600 IT employees claiming unpaid overtime in a case involving the complex issue of whether they exercised sufficient discretion in their duties and responsibilities to meet the administrative exemption under California wage and hour law. On remand, a federal judge found this question would yield individualized answers based on which tasks employees were assigned and how their time was apportioned among tasks.
  • Won summary judgment and denial of a class certification motion brought on behalf of thousands of putative class members throughout the state of California, alleging that the value of meals provided by employers should have been counted as part of employees' wages, thereby increasing the employees' overtime pay. The court found that the employer could lawfully exclude the value of the meals from employees' regular rate of pay and overtime because the employer established that it makes meals available to employees for its own benefit and convenience.
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Partner Orlando
Partner Atlanta
Associate New York
Associate Chicago
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Chicago
Counsel Orlando
Partner Cleveland
Associate Los Angeles
Associate Orlando
Associate Chicago
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Cleveland
Partner Orlando
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Orlando
Partner Los Angeles
Associate New York
Partner New York
Partner Cleveland
Counsel Philadelphia
Partner Cleveland

Experience

  • Defeated certification of a class of over 4,500 employees of a video-rental chain who alleged that they were required to perform compensable tasks after clocking out. A federal judge in Illinois ruled that our attorneys had successfully demonstrated that the plaintiffs’ claims were inconsistent and varied by store and by supervisor.
  • Won decertification of a class of over 600 IT employees claiming unpaid overtime in a case involving the complex issue of whether they exercised sufficient discretion in their duties and responsibilities to meet the administrative exemption under California wage and hour law. On remand, a federal judge found this question would yield individualized answers based on which tasks employees were assigned and how their time was apportioned among tasks.
  • Won summary judgment and denial of a class certification motion brought on behalf of thousands of putative class members throughout the state of California, alleging that the value of meals provided by employers should have been counted as part of employees' wages, thereby increasing the employees' overtime pay. The court found that the employer could lawfully exclude the value of the meals from employees' regular rate of pay and overtime because the employer established that it makes meals available to employees for its own benefit and convenience.

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: Labor & Employment
    • Florida (2007 to 2018)
      • Band 2
    • Ohio (2007 to 2018)
      • Band 1
    • Texas (2014 to 2018)
      • Band 3
    • Recognized Practitioner in California (2018)
    • Recognized Practitioner in the District of Columbia (2018)
  • Recognized as one of the top law firms for client service, we were named to the 2018 BTI Client Service 30 for the fourth consecutive year.
  • “Best Law Firms” 2014: National Tier 1 Ranking in the area of Employment Law - Management from U.S. News – Best Lawyers®.
  • The Best Lawyers in America© 2014: Twenty-two partners were selected by their peers for inclusion in various employment-related fields.
  • Corporate Counsel® and The American Lawyer magazines "Go-to Law Firm” for Labor & Employment by general counsel (2013)
  • Workforce Management Magazine: Top Employment Law Firms
  • The Lawdragon/Human Resource Executive list of the Nation's Top Employment Attorneys includes three members of the team in their Top 100 list, with one additional attorney named among the nation's top 20 labor lawyers.
  • Florida Trend “Legal Elite"
  • Numerous partners have been certified as employment law specialists by their respective state bar associations.

Key Contacts

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Class Action Blog
Washington Court Denies Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment on Various Overtime Issues
May 16, 2018
Overconfidence won’t overcome questions of fact Most practitioners and human resource professionals are already familiar with the increasingly difficult wage and hour laws in California and its “Mini Me” to the east, New York state. But...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Gutierrez v. Wells-Fargo Bank – Eleventh Circuit Sheds More Light on Waiver of Arbitration Rights in Putative Class Setting
May 15, 2018
Whether a defendant has waived its right to arbitrate as to unnamed class plaintiffs has been a troubling issue. Some courts base their analysis on their lack of jurisdiction over unnamed putative class members. Still others focus on how...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Proposed Rule 23 Amendment for Class Action Settlement: Sea Change or Codification of the Status Quo?
May 14, 2018
We’ve noted several times in this blog the difficulties parties may face when trying to obtain court approval for a settlement they have reached. Recognizing many of these issues, new amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) are...
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Employment Class Action Blog
California District Court Denies Certification of Class of Retail Loss Prevention Employees
By Gregory V. Mersol
May 9, 2018
Plaintiffs’ Arguments Miss the [fill in the blank] One of the justifications and requirements for class treatment is that the plaintiffs’ claims all can be resolved in one stroke. This concept, which is embodied in the related elements of...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Ninth Circuit Finds Evidence at Class Certification Not Required to Be Admissible - The Last Word on the Issue?
May 8, 2018
In a 28-page opinion, a panel of the Ninth Circuit overturned a district court’s denial of class certification, in part, because the lower court required supporting evidence to be admissible. This decision certainly represents a split...
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