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
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

  • 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
[Gasp!] Epic Systems Decision Applies to FLSA Claims
August 17, 2018
No shocking outcome here. In Gaffers v. Kelly Services, Inc., Case No. 16-2210 (6th Cir. Aug. 15, 2016), the Sixth Circuit held that the Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis, 138 S. Ct. 1632 (2018) [which we blogged here]...
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Employment Class Action Blog
The California Supreme Court To Decide Whether California’s Labor Laws Apply To Employees Who Work Only Partially In California
August 16, 2018
For a company that does 100 percent of its business in California and employs workers who perform 100 percent of their work in California, it would not be surprising for the workers’ employment to be governed by California’s labor laws...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Changing the Competition – Massachusetts Enacts Comprehensive Non-compete Reform
By Shawn N. Butte
August 13, 2018
After nearly a decade of debate, Massachusetts has passed comprehensive legislation limiting the use of noncompetition agreements. Last Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker officially signed “An Act Relative to the Enforcement of Noncompetition...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Ninth Circuit Finds ERISA Fiduciary Duty Claims Not Arbitrable
By Gregory V. Mersol
August 13, 2018
But decision leaves open many questions . . . With the Supreme Court’s Epic Systems decision laying to rest many of the primary arguments used to avoid arbitration, case law continues to develop regarding how arbitration may apply for...
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Employment Class Action Blog
California State Court Rules That Loose Change Adds Up … and So Will the Penalties
By Jeffrey R. Vlasek
August 1, 2018
We’ve all been there: You pull up to a parking spot, hop out to check whether the meter requires payment on Sunday and then grumble as you fish around in the coin tray. With any luck, you find a quarter or two. More often than not...
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