Wage and Hour

"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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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 2015)
    • Ohio: Band 1 (2007 to 2015)
    • Texas (2014, 2015)
  • BTI Client Service 30: BakerHostetler advanced 19 positions to #9 (2016)
  • “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

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In The Blogs

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Employment Class Action Blog
Proposed Legislation That Could Impact Class Action Litigation and Arbitration – The Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 and the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2017
March 16, 2017
Two new pieces of proposed legislation could, if passed, change the architecture and requirements of class actions and outlaw mandatory arbitration clauses in employment and consumer contracts. But neither is a sure thing. Vocal critics as...
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Employment Law Spotlight
A Shift Toward Employers?
March 9, 2017
As most employers are now aware, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB, or the “Board”) in recent years has adopted more restrictive, non-employer-friendly approaches to what it will permit in workplace policies. These rules have been...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Arbitrating PAGA Claims: The Ninth Circuit Compels It in the Valdez Case
March 8, 2017
So much case law has come down in the past several years regarding California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) – and its ability to withstand class and representative action waivers – that observers might have overestimated PAGA’s...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Court Decertifies Class Challenging Timekeeping Practices
February 27, 2017
Yogi Berra often has been quoted for the phrase “It ain’t over till it’s over,” and Lenny Kravitz even made a hit song of it in 1991. While no one will likely ever make a popular song out of Rule 23, the phrase applies just as well to...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Court Dismisses Disparate Impact Class Claims Due to Limited EEOC Charge
February 22, 2017
Disparate impact cases are different in kind from the far more common disparate treatment claims that are the staple of single-plaintiff discrimination cases. Disparate treatment claims, of course, are ones in which an employee contends...
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