Earlier we wrote that two Fifth Circuit cases seemed to reach inconsistent determinations about the availability of punitive and pain and suffering damages under the FLSA and ADEA. The Fifth Circuit previously expressed its intent to interpret the remedies provision under the FLSA and ADEA consistently with each other. Please see our discussion at via our January 13 blog post.

One of those opinions has been withdrawn and a new opinion substituted, but the inconsistency remains, The Vaughan v. Anderson Regional Medical Center decision was first issued on December 16, 2016 (we discussed the first issued version in our prior post). But because the opinion contained some manifest inconsistencies with the Pineda v. JTCH Apartments, LLC opinion issued just three days later, the plaintiff in Vaughan requested a rehearing en banc. Although the court denied the petition for a rehearing en banc, the court withdrew the prior opinion and substituted a new opinion. The new Vaughan opinion reaches the same ultimate conclusion and holding as the prior opinion, but it contains a few revisions that make clear its holding on ADEA remedies does not extend to FLSA remedies. But still, the two panels did not interpret remedies available under the ADEA and the FLSA consistently.
Continue Reading In the 5th Circuit, Pain and Suffering and Punitive Damages Recoverable under FLSA, not ADEA

The Fifth Circuit has long held that pain and suffering damages and punitive damages are not recoverable under the ADEA. The Fifth Circuit has also expressed its intent to interpret remedies under the ADEA and FLSA consistently with each other since the ADEA incorporates the FLSA’s remedies provision. Thus, you would think that pain and suffering and punitive damages would not be recoverable in a FLSA retaliation case.

Not so fast. In a decision issued on December 16, 2016, a three-judge panel reaffirmed that pain and suffering and punitive damages are not recoverable for ADEA discrimination or retaliation claims. Only three days later, however, another Fifth Circuit panel issued a decision finding that emotional distress damages are recoverable in FLSA retaliation cases. In so holding, the two panels cited the same 1977 seminal case, Dean v. American Security Insurance Co., but reached different conclusions under similarly worded provisions of the two statutes. Obviously, the two panels did not interpret remedies available under the ADEA and the FLSA consistently. Continue Reading Are pain and suffering and punitive damages recoverable under the ADEA and FLSA? The 5th Circuit issues inconsistent decisions

Exercising Office WorkerHusch Blackwell was recently named a finalist for the St. Louis Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers 2016 competition. The Business Journal’s profile of Husch Blackwell highlights the firm’s effective use of wellness challenges in the workplace and praises Chris Smith, a partner in our St. Louis office, for his dedicated participation in the wellness initiatives.

Given our firm’s success with health and wellness initiatives, we decided to take this opportunity to discuss and reflect on just a few (of the many) legal requirements relevant to employer wellness programs. Continue Reading EEOC’s targeting of wellness programs and what that means for your company

white collarAs most are aware, on May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its much anticipated final rule, drastically increasing the salary requirements to qualify as an exempt executive, administrative or professional employee. The DOL estimates that the final rule will extend overtime protections to 4.2 million workers in the first year of implementation and boost wages by $12 billion over the next 10 years. The rule is set to become effective Dec. 1, 2016. Continue Reading Challenge to the doubling of the white collar salary exemption under FLSA

Gun controlRecently, Husch Blackwell partners Stephen Cockerham and Kevin Koronka presented a webinar to Texas employers concerning the impact legislation concerning gun rights may have on employers. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over Texas federal district courts, recently released a decision concerning employee gun rights of which employers, particularly those with Mississippi employees, should take note. Continue Reading Fifth Circuit decision finds new exception to at-will employment: employee gun rights

Pay DayEmployers often misconstrue the terms “non-exempt employee” and “hourly employee,” leading them to believe the terms are interchangeable. But, not all non-exempt employees are necessarily hourly employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows employers to pay their non-exempt employees on a salary basis as long as they meet minimum wage and overtime mandates. Paying certain non-exempt employees on a salary basis may prove a useful tool as healthcare institutions weigh changes in employee compensation practices necessitated by new FLSA regulations (previously discussed). Continue Reading Compensating non-exempt employees using the fluctuating workweek method

checkboxA new ordinance went into effect April 4, 2016, which prohibits many employers in Austin from asking job applicants about their criminal histories until they’re well into the hiring process. The Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance, colloquially known as the “Ban the Box” measure, will forbid most employers from considering an applicant’s criminal record until after making a conditional offer of employment. Thus, Austin employers must evaluate whether the ordinance will affect their operations and, if so, what steps they need to take to alter their hiring processes and related guidelines. Continue Reading Austin becomes first Texas city to “Ban the Box”

clock-timer-iStock_000023196160_LargePatricia Smith, U.S. Department of Labor solicitor, recently announced the final rules regarding the changes to the FLSA White Collar Exemption Regulations will be published in July 2016. She also indicated the regulations will be effective 60 days after their publication. This means the changes will become effective no later than September 2016. Continue Reading DOL Announces FLSA changes will be effective no later than September 2016

keyboard_iStock_000003183204Small-computerkeyboardThe Wall Street Journal is reporting  that the Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations are not likely to be final and implemented until late 2016. As we discussed in prior posts, in June of this year the DOL proposed regulations that would significantly increase the salary basis test for most FLSA exemptions. The proposed change would make several million more employees eligible for overtime payments, which could have a significant impact on an employer’s bottom line. Many commentators and employers were anticipating the new regulations would go into effect either late this year or early 2016. According to the WSJ report, however, the DOL’s Solicitor of Labor, Patricia Smith, recently commented at a labor and employment law conference that the new regulations are not likely to be final before late 2016. According to the report, Ms. Smith noted the DOL received approximately 270,000 comments in response to the proposed regulations and that this, along with the complex nature of the changes, warranted additional time to complete the regulations. Continue Reading DOL may delay implementation of the new FLSA regulations until late 2016