John E. Thompson

John Thompson is a partner in the Atlanta office of the law firm Fisher & Phillips. His practice focuses on wage and hour law, assisting employers in preventive efforts designed to ensure compliance, and he handles both investigations conducted by government agencies and litigation in the wage and hour area. John has served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for wage-hour matters for the State of Georgia. Contact him at jthompson@laborlawyers.com.

Articles by John E. Thompson

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Possible Impact of Obama’s Immigration Initiative: More FLSA Claims

Obama

By John E. Thompson

Lurking among the numerous considerations raised by President Obama’s “immigration accountability” initiative are the prospects that this action will result in more allegations by or on behalf of the affected individuals that they have not been paid in compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

This could come in the form of lawsuits or administrative complaints by the workers themselves, or through enforcement measures by the U.S. Department of Labor in collaboration with other federal agencies and even with foreign governments. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Court: Screening Workers Going Home Doesn’t Count as Work Time

© chasingmoments - Fotolia.com

By John E. Thompson

The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday found that the time non-exempt employees spent in connection with an end-of-workday security screening before leaving the premises did not count as worktime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Instead, it said, the time so spent was non-compensable “postliminary” activity under the federal Portal-to-Portal Act.

Among other things, the Supreme Court said that: Read more…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

Voter Actions Undercut Federal Push for $10.10 Minimum Wage

minimum wage

By John E. Thompson

Earlier this month, several states and localities voted in favor of increasing their minimum wage.

Right on cue, many (including U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez) seized upon these results as ostensibly supporting an increase in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s rate to $10.10 per hour.

On the contrary, the developments emphasize that no such nationwide action is either wise or warranted. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Unpaid Intern Group Certified by Court For Collective Action

Intern

By John E. Thompson

After more than a year of litigation (the filing which we reported here), former unpaid Gawker Media interns will be permitted to send notices to other unpaid or allegedly underpaid interns to inform those potential plaintiffs of the lawsuit and of the opportunity to join the proceedings.

The judge did not rule that the former interns’ claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act are valid. Instead, she decided that the evidence presented to date suggests that other potential plaintiffs are “similarly situated” for FLSA collective-action purposes. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Not Paying Employees On Time? It’s Considered an FLSA Violation

123RF Stock Photo

By John E. Thompson

A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims underscores important propositions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to the effect that:

  • Failing to pay non-exempt employees the FLSA-required minimum-wage or overtime compensation by the next regular payday for the workweek (or by the next regular payday for the longer pay-period in which the workweek ends) after they can be determined violates the FLSA, and
  • Such violations give rise to claims under the FLSA for “liquidated damages,” even if the employee is later paid the underlying required wages. Read more…
HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

What Is an Intern? The Labor Dept. Lists the 6 Factors That Define One

internships

By John E. Thompson

We wrote some time ago about a lower federal court’s determination in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures that at least two unpaid interns were “employees” for federal Fair Labor Standards Act purposes.

This ruling is now being reviewed by the New York-based Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (with jurisdiction over Connecticut, New York, and Vermont). The U.S. Department of Labor has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in which it supports the lower court’s decision.

The Labor Department’s filing provides some interesting insight into its views about when an intern is an “employee” for purposes of the FLSA’s requirements. Read more…

Compensation, HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Proposed Minimum Wage Regulations for Federal Contractors Released

obama jobless

By John E. Thompson

The U.S. Department of Labor has released its proposed regulations implementing Executive Order 13658, President Obama’s directive to raise the minimum-wage rate for workers on federal contracts from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour (subject to annual increases after 2015).

We wrote about this initiative earlier in the year; we will not repeat those discussions here.

Identifying all ramifications of the 181-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will necessitate a careful review. However, at least some ambiguities of the Executive Order itself appear to have been clarified. Read more…

Compensation, Legal Issues

The Disinformation Surrounding the “Tipped-Employee Minimum Wage”

123RF Stock Photo

By John E. Thompson

A White House report promoting a substantial jump in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s minimum wage perpetuates now widely disseminated propaganda about an alleged “tipped employee minimum wage” of $2.13 per hour.

The fact is that there is no such thing. Talk of a so-called “tipped minimum wage” is designed in part to create a false impression that tipped employees are typically relegated to making less than the actual FLSA minimum wage. Read more…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

BLS Minimum Wage Report: Is There Anything Worthwhile In it?

us-bureau-of-labor-statistics

By John E. Thompson

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a report entitled Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2013 which claims that approximately 1.8 million hourly-paid workers made less than the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s $7.25-per-hour minimum wage last year.

It also asserts that another 1.5 million hourly-paid workers earned exactly this minimum rate.

These statements are already being touted as additional support for increasing the FLSA minimum wage. On the contrary, even a cursory look at the methodology gives rise to serious doubt that the report has almost anything worthwhile to say in this regard. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Opposition Is Growing to Unpaid Internships for College Credit

Intern

By John E. Thompson

We have already reported that a group calling itself the “Fair Pay Campaign” aims to pressure colleges and universities not to facilitate unpaid internships or even post notices about them.

This initiative appears to be gaining momentum. Read more…