Wage and Hour

Overview

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

  • Have extensive experience advising clients on the applicability of Fair Labor Standards Act exemptions, including analysis of individual jobs and broad classes of jobs. In addition to the single position analysis that we frequently perform for clients in the course of routine employment advising, we have conducted significant projects (or audits) analyzing and advising as to the applicability of the professional, executive, and administrative exemptions for clients in a wide range of industries, including logistics, transportation, healthcare, information technology, hospitality, manufacturing and financing.
  • Have substantial experience defending employers against claims by non-exempt employees with respect to misclassification, unpaid overtime, rest periods and meal breaks. In those cases (as elsewhere), we look for creative ways to advance our clients’ interests.
  • Have worked closely with California employers to develop strategies to address California Supreme Court holdings that PAGA claims are not subject to arbitration.
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Partner Orlando
Partner Atlanta
Associate Denver
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Chicago
Partner Los Angeles
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
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Orlando
Partner Los Angeles
Associate New York
Partner New York
Associate Cleveland
Partner Cleveland
Counsel Philadelphia
Partner Cleveland

Experience

  • Have extensive experience advising clients on the applicability of Fair Labor Standards Act exemptions, including analysis of individual jobs and broad classes of jobs. In addition to the single position analysis that we frequently perform for clients in the course of routine employment advising, we have conducted significant projects (or audits) analyzing and advising as to the applicability of the professional, executive, and administrative exemptions for clients in a wide range of industries, including logistics, transportation, healthcare, information technology, hospitality, manufacturing and financing.
  • Have substantial experience defending employers against claims by non-exempt employees with respect to misclassification, unpaid overtime, rest periods and meal breaks. In those cases (as elsewhere), we look for creative ways to advance our clients’ interests.
  • Have worked closely with California employers to develop strategies to address California Supreme Court holdings that PAGA claims are not subject to arbitration.
  • 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)
  • “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.
  • Recognized as one of the top law firms for client service, BakerHostetler was named to the 2019 BTI Client Service 30 for the fifth consecutive year.

News

News

Press Releases

Publications

Alerts

Articles

Key Contacts

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Class Action Blog
Recent Decisions Don't Provide Useful Guidance on Tests for the FAA Exemption of Transportation Workers
By John B. Lewis
April 29, 2019
Sometimes being right is not a virtue, especially when it comes to the Federal Arbitration Act § 1 exemption. We predicted uncertainty after the New Prime v. Oliveira decision and got it. See our Jan. 17, 2019, blog post on the exemption...
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Employment Class Action Blog
SCOTUS Reverses Ninth Circuit on Proper Bases for Class Arbitrations
By John B. Lewis
April 25, 2019
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that arbitration agreements must provide a “contractual basis for concluding that the part[ies] agreed to [class arbitration].” Reversing the Ninth Circuit, Chief Justice John Roberts found...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Illinois District Court Decertifies Equal Pay Act Collective Class Involving Physicians
By Gregory V. Mersol
April 24, 2019
Section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the provision that requires those participating in a federal claim for minimum wages or overtime to opt in to the class, making Rule 23 inapplicable. The same enforcement applies to...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Missouri District Court Decertifies FLSA Class of IT Workers
By Gregory V. Mersol
April 23, 2019
We’ve noted before that while conditional certification motions are often granted, such classes fare far less well at the second decertification stage and just as poorly on the eve of trial. See: “Ninth Circuit Affirms Decertification of...
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Employment Law Spotlight
NYC Releases Anti-Harassment Training Video
By Amanda Van Hoose Garofalo, Amy J. Traub
April 16, 2019
As discussed in our New York Quarterly Newsletters, employers in New York City who have 15 or more employees (inclusive of independent contractors) are required to provide anti-sexual harassment training on or before December 31, 2019 to...
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