Posts by: Zachary Scott

Some Control Is Just Fine: Ninth Circuit Upholds Independent Contractor Status in Jones v. Royal Admin. Servs.

Just the other week, in Jones v. Royal Admin. Servs., the Ninth Circuit reaffirmed the federal common law standard for distinguishing agents from independent contractors and upheld the independent contractor status of telemarketers providing direct sales services for a company, Royal Administration Services, Inc. (“Royal”).

At issue were telemarketers employed by All American Auto Protection, Inc. (“AAAP”), one of about twenty marketing vendors used by Royal to sell vehicle service contracts.  Several recipients of these telemarketing calls filed suit, first against AAAP and then against Royal, alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  The telemarketing call recipients alleged that Royal was vicariously liable because the AAAP telemarketers were Royal’s agents.  Royal filed for summary judgment, asserting that the AAAP telemarketers were not its agents, but rather independent contractors.  The district court granted summary judgment for Royal. READ MORE

In Nationwide Conditional Certification, Evidence Still Matters

As employers well know, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) permits employees to file suits on behalf of themselves and others who are “similarly situated.” 29 U.S.C. 216(b).  In practice, this often means large employers find themselves defending against a single or handful of employees attempting to certify a collective action that includes hundreds or thousands of employees nationwide.  Many times, the collective group includes employees in states where the plaintiffs have never worked.  However, as a NY federal court recently reminded us, while plaintiffs’ evidentiary burden is not onerous at this stage, lack of knowledge about the employees in other states continues to be an obstacle for plaintiffs in obtaining conditional certification.  On the opposite side of the coin, this failure of evidence can be utilized by defendant employers to narrow the proposed collective group or altogether prevent the conditional certification of a collective action.  READ MORE

Chapter Closes on Obama Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Initiative

On Tuesday, the President officially killed the Obama-era Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (“FPSW”) Initiative, which came to be known as the “Blacklisting regs”. The move was widely expected as Executive Order 13673, the Federal Acquisition Council’s Regulations and the Department of Labor’s Guidance were widely panned by federal contractors.  However, the Trump Administration’s path to dump this initiative represents how Washington makes it difficult to do even the simplest things quickly.  READ MORE

From Swimsuits to Grass Fed Beef: A New Direction for Labor?

The United States Senate is slated to consider Andrew (Andy) Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, as the next Secretary of Labor (“DOL”). Although his confirmation hearing which was set for February 7, 2017 has been delayed reportedly to give Mr. Puzder additional time to complete government ethics disclosures, Mr. Puzder has stated that he is fully committed to becoming Secretary of Labor and says that he is “looking forward to [his] hearing.”[1]

CKE Restaurants operates “fast food” restaurants known as Carl’s Jr. west of the Rockies and Hardee’s in the east. The restaurants, perhaps better-known for their commercials featuring women models in skimpy swimsuits, began a new advertising campaign last fall focusing on its employees talking about the quality of the food offerings — burgers made with grass fed beef, hand-breaded chicken tenders, hand-scooped ice cream, and scratch made biscuits.  If confirmed, Mr. Puzder in all likelihood, would also steer the DOL in a new direction with a decidedly more business-friendly approach than his predecessor, Tom Perez.  We consider what would a Puzder DOL would likely focus on. READ MORE

North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill” Dealt a Blow as Debate on Transgender Access Continues

On August 26, 2016, a North Carolina federal judge blocked the University of North Carolina (UNC) from enforcing a state law requiring transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.

With the passage of House Bill 2 (HB2) in March 2016, North Carolina became the first state to ban people from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity in government buildings and schools.  News of HB2 stirred up a public outcry, including a Department of Justice lawsuit and the NBA’s decision to relocate the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, North Carolina to another location.

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