Outback Steakhouse Settles Manager Overtime Suit

Shavitz Law Group

Outback Steakhouse Settles Manager Overtime Suit – Law260 – June 18, 2020

Outback Steakhouse has settled on undisclosed terms a proposed collective action alleging the chain restaurant unfairly denied its front-of-house managers overtime, according to a notice filed Thursday in Massachusetts federal court.

The Bloomberg 2020 Campaign Broke its Promises & Withheld Overtime Pay from its Field Organizers

Terminated by Bloomberg? Fight Back!

Terminated by Bloomberg? Fight BackFormer Field Organizers for the Bloomberg 2020 campaign have filed a proposed class and collective action lawsuit for terminated Bloomberg organizing staff. The lawsuit includes class action claims of fraudulent inducement and promissory estoppel. In short, Bloomberg’s campaign broke its promises guaranteeing employment and benefits to their staffers through the presidential election in November. In addition to these broken promises and the damages associated with the failure to maintain employment through November, the lawsuit also alleges that Field Organizers are owed overtime compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and various state wage and hour laws.

Under the FLSA, covered employers are required to pay non-exempt employees overtime compensation if they work more than 40 hours in a given workweek. Whether an employee is exempt from overtime pay depends on the nature of the job duties they perform. Employees — even those who are paid a salary — are entitled to overtime pay if their job duties do not qualify for any exemption under the FLSA. Based on the job duties they performed, the lawsuit alleges that Bloomberg Field Organizers were misclassified as exempt and that the campaign is required to pay them overtime compensation.

We want to make sure these Field Organizers get the chance to stand up and fight for what they have rightfully earned. On April 17, 2020, former Field Organizers filed a motion to have their claims certified as a collective action. Under the FLSA, employees must opt-in order to claim unpaid overtime wages. The motion requests that the court authorize the plaintiffs’ counsel, Shavitz Law Group, P.A. and Outten & Golden LLP, to send out a court-approved notice by mail, email and text message to all Bloomberg Field Organizers throughout the country to inform them of the case and give them an opportunity to submit a Consent to Join Form to join the case. To date, over 100 former Field Organizers have joined the case.

If you are a former Bloomberg Campaign staffer, please contact The Shavitz Group at (800) 616-4000 or visit us at bloomberg2020case.com to learn about your rights.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Employees Reporting CERTAIN FRAUDS are Protected By Law

Cash for candor, Fraud without retaliation

Diversicare WhistleblowersOn February 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Diversicare Health Services Inc., which owns nursing home facilities across the country, agreed to pay $9.5 million to resolve claims that it defrauded the government by submitting false claims to Medicare for services that were not reasonable, necessary or skilled.

Unfortunately, these types of claims are not uncommon, as fraud is prevalent throughout the healthcare industry.  Wrongdoers profit by subjecting patients to treatments and procedures which are unnecessary or which can even injure them. The fraudulent claims are paid by hard-earned taxpayer dollars that fund Medicare which pays the medical providers.

The federal False Claims Act entitles employees who “blow the whistle” on fraud against the government to receive a percentage of funds recovered. In the Diversicare case, two former employees received respective shares of approximately $1.4 million and $145,000.

False Claims Act actions arise in other industries as well, including financial services, mortgage companies, cybersecurity, and educational institutions.  The question for employees to ask themselves is whether the company is fraudulently billing the government for goods or services which are unnecessary, redundant, or not even provided.

Employees who are worried about reporting such fraudulent activities should be aware that the law protects them from retaliation from their employer.

Do you believe you have a False Claims Act report against your employer for fraudulent billing? Contact the Shavitz Law Group at 800-616-4800 today.  We are very interested to discuss and investigate any such wrongdoing.

 

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Illinois employers required to disclose biometric data collection

Deserve cash for reckless privacy scans?

Deserve Cash for Reckless Privacy ScansAs employers continue to seek more ways to efficiently run their businesses, they continue to turn to advances in technology.  One of these methods is the collection of “biometric” information such as retina, iris, fingerprint, or facial scans.  Employees will usually see this in the workplace in the form of time clocks that use the employees’ biometric information to record the time they work or to access secure areas or information for business purposes.  Other entities with whom people interface in their daily lives also may collect biometric information.

For employers in Illinois, the use of these advancements comes with legal requirements to ensure this sensitive information about employees is not misused.  Facebook learned this the hard way when it agreed to a tentative $550 million settlement for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”).  BIPA protects the use of biometric information, such a facial recognition in the Facebook case. BIPA requires that any entity – including employers — which collects biometric information must advise that: (a) the biometric information is going to be collected; (b) explain the reason it is being collected; (c) describe the length of time the biometric information will be stored and used; and (d) obtain a written release before collecting any biometric data or sharing the biometric data with a third party.

If an employer or other entity fails to follow these procedural requirements of BIPA, the employee whose biometric data was collected may still have a claim under BIPA — even without a specific injury or adverse effect. BIPA provides statutory damages up to $1,000 for each negligent violation of the act, and up to $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation.

If you were employed in Illinois and your employer or other entity collected your biometric information, contact the Shavitz Law so we may evaluate your potential claim under BIPA. You can call us at 800-616-4800. We would be happy to assist you in a free consultation to discuss your employment concerns.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Is Your Employer Complying with ERISA?

Rescue our 401k!

Rescue Your 401K!When the stock market takes a dive, your 401k suffers too.  While many employees allocate some of their earnings to their employer’s 401k plan without a second thought, employees still need to periodically review their accounts thoroughly to ensure that their employer is protecting their best interests.

The federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) requires retirement and health benefit plan managers to protect employees’ retirement savings.  This includes prudent management and diversification of the investments, along with rules against “self dealing” (for example, investing all of the 401k plan’s funds into your employer’s own stock).

If you have any questions about whether your employer is complying with ERISA, please contact Shavitz Law Group at (800) 616-4000, or visit us at www.shavitzlaw.com for a free, no-obligation evaluation of whether you have been the victim of an ERISA violation resulting in lost retirement savings.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

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Colorado strengthens worker protections with updated wage and hour laws

Booting up, Rest Breaks, Pre-Shift Meetings, and ... Higher Wages

Colorado StrengthensColorado recently updated its wage laws and strengthened its protections for workers.  The new laws clarified that workers must be paid for all time worked, including time spent preparing to work, like booting up computer programs and timekeeping systems to clock in.  Employees who arrive at work and have pre-shift meetings must be paid for that time.

These laws will also impact workers who work at home and respond to emails and other communications while not clocked in.  The Colorado laws confirm that workers must be paid for such work. Colorado employers must also provide 10 minute paid rest breaks for every four hours of work. If the worker does not receive a break, the employer must pay the worker for an extra 10 minutes of time for the missed break.

The law also increased minimum pay rates.  Starting in July, salaried workers must earn at least $35,568 per year.  The minimum salary will increase in steps to $55,000 in 2024.

Shavitz Law Group litigates cases nationally including in Colorado.  We represent about 250 call center representatives who were not paid overtime wages in a case in Colorado court.  We also have a Colorado class action case pending involving similar claims in Colorado state court in Denver.

If you are a Colorado employee and want to learn more about your rights under the new law, please contact us at slg@shavitzlaw.com or at 800-616-4000.  We would be happy to assist you in a free consultation to discuss your employment concerns.

YOU EARNED IT, NOW LETS GO GET IT.

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Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.

Coronavirus: Protecting Your Health and Your Employee Rights FAQ’s

Shavitz Law Group

As the coronavirus continues to spread both globally and within the United States, many companies have expanded measures to prevent their employees from exposure. You may have experienced these yourself – increased sick days due to being ill, requirements to work from home, or even furloughs.

This virus is not going away anytime soon – in fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that things will get much worse before they get better. However, it is important that as you hurry to protect your own health during this time, you also protect your rights as an employee as changes in the workplace inevitably happen.

Below are six actual scenarios which have arisen that could also apply to you in your workplace. These scenarios range from managerial situations to travel and illness situations. Ultimately, each situation emphasizes the same thing – you have rights as an employee that your employer is legally required to respect and protect.

1. I am an exempt manager. What happens when I have to perform non-exempt duties, like customer service work, because so many non-exempt workers have called in sick?

Your status as a manager is determined by your duties. If you are performing non-exempt duties because of a worker shortage, you may lose your exempt status as a manager and may be entitled to overtime for hours worked over 40 in one week.

2. I am an hourly employee. My employer allows me to work from home when I am sick. How can I be sure I am paid for all the work I perform?

First, if you can log in remotely to your employer’s timekeeping system, you should do so. Second, if you cannot log in to the timekeeping system, keep track of your time and report it to your employer. In either case, be sure to include all of your time worked, both on or off-the-clock, such as emails, texts, and calls you may receive on your mobile phone after official working hours.

3. I am an exempt employee. Does my employer have to pay me if I miss work due to coronavirus?

Generally, any deductions for exempt employees must be in full-day increments. If any employer docks your pay for less than a full day’s absence, the employer may have violated the exemption. Accordingly, you are an exempt employee and miss a full day’s work due to coronavirus, or any other reason, your employer may deduct from your pay. However, if you miss less than a full day – say, for a doctor’s appointment for you or a family member – the employer may not deduct from your pay if you are an exempt employee.

4. I have questioned my employer as to whether it’s safe to come to work because we have a colleague who traveled to China. After ignoring my concerns, my employer has started giving me less work and less desirable assignments. Is this legal?

Making a complaint that you believe that the workplace is unsafe or that a component of the work is unsafe could kick in the whistleblower protection requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, if the fear is more generalized – simply based on concerns that relate to media coverage or more general pandemic questions — this would not necessarily be an objective or fact-based concern. In your case, because your coworker traveled to the epicenter of the virus, you may have a retaliation or whistleblower claim.

5. I am a non-exempt employee who is required to travel for my job. What if I am quarantined as a result of business travel?

Because you are an hourly, non-exempt employee if you are quarantined while on a business trip as a result of exposure, overnight travel rules will apply. Your employer will be responsible for providing payment for wages and for all time the employee is working.

6. My boss has small children who he has had to bring to work because their school is closed due to coronavirus. He asks me to entertain them before and after my shift and make sure they are fed lunch. Can I be paid for this time?

Yes. Your employer must pay you for all hours worked, even those outside the scope of your duties, such as caring for your boss’s children. In addition to lunch, when you come in early or stay late to help out with the boss’s children, then you must be paid for that time as well, even if you are only there to “keep an eye” on them.

Any of these scenarios could apply to you in your own workplace. If you are experiencing situations like the above, or any other situation related to coronavirus that makes you question whether your employer is violating your rights, please give the Shavitz Law Group a call today for a consultation. You can call us at 800-616-4800 or contact us by email at slg@shavitzlaw.com. We would be happy to assist you in a free consultation to discuss your employment concerns.

YOU EARNED IT. NOW LETS GO GET IT.

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Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY.  Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.