WWT Insights Legal Blog

Wilson Wehmeyer Themeli, pllc provides you legal news, updates, and analysis in its blog WWT Insights. Read the latest posts.

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The Supreme Court of the United States

  • Two petitions from North Carolina seek to resolve pay and benefits for public employees
    by Kalvis Golde on July 4, 2022 at 1:50 am

    The Petitions of the Week column highlights a selection of cert petitions recently filed in the Supreme Court. A list of all petitions we’re watching is available here. This week, we highlight cert petitions that ask the court to consider, among other things, whether two… The post Two petitions from North Carolina seek to resolve pay and benefits for public employees appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

  • As unanimity declines, conservative majority’s power runs deeper than the blockbuster cases
    by Angie Gou on July 4, 2022 at 12:21 am

    One year ago, the Supreme Court had just ended a term of transition. Justice Amy Coney Barrett had replaced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority. Yet the court issued more unanimous decisions than in the three preceding terms, and some major rulings… The post As unanimity declines, conservative majority’s power runs deeper than the blockbuster cases appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

  • The dangers of judicial cherry-picking
    by Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson on July 1, 2022 at 11:07 pm

    This article is part of a symposium on the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Cari Jackson is director of spiritual care and activism for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and earned a… The post The dangers of judicial cherry-picking appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

US Department of Labor

  • US Department of Labor recovers $62K in back wages, damages for 22 Alabama gas station cashiers denied full overtime wages
    on July 4, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    BIRMINGHAM, AL – The U.S. Department of Labor recovered $62,568 in back wages and liquidated damages for 22 current and former cashiers of two Alabama gas stations whose operator denied them their full wages by paying them overtime at rates lower than the law requires. Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Kwik Shop Stores Inc. failed to compute correct overtime rates and pay full overtime wages due at its locations in Wetumpka and Montgomery. The employer did not include bonuses paid in the calculation of the overtime rates of pay. By doing so, the Kwik Stop Stores underpaid employees. The employer also failed to accurately record employee’s hours of work. These practices resulted in violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition to the recovery of back wages and damages, the division assessed Kwik Stop $8,228 in civil money penalties for the nature of the violations. “Business owners who deny their workers their full wages make it harder for these workers and their families to make ends meet,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Kenneth Stripling in Birmingham, Alabama. “With job openings remaining at near record levels across the nation, employers are working harder to retain and recruit workers they need to help their businesses succeed. Those who fulfill their obligation and honor workers’ rights to full wages and benefits will have an advantage over employers who fail to do so.” In fiscal year 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median hourly wage for cashiers in the gasoline industry – one that usually requires employees to work weekends, holidays and overnight shifts – was only $11.24 an hour.   BLS also projects more than 1.1 million job openings in the retail trade industry, creating an even more competitive labor market. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for Android devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions or concerns – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

  • Following court order, Indianapolis security company pays $370K in back wages, damages to 215 workers after US Labor Department investigation
    on July 4, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    INDIANAPOLIS – Overtime wages owed to 215 security professionals who patrol Indianapolis International Airport’s grounds, guard local businesses, and provide round-the-clock traffic control in the area were paid following an investigation and litigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. As required by a June 7, 2022 consent judgment entered in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana,  Protection Plus Inc. and employer Raymond Stanley paid $185,459 in wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to the Department of Labor for distribution to the workers. The employer  also paid a civil money penalty of $69,540 for knowingly violating federal wage laws. Similar violations by the Indianapolis company were found in 2018. The court’s action follows the department’s complaint filed on May 11, 2022. An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Protection Plus did not pay any overtime premium to some employees for hours over 40 in a workweek. When the firm did pay overtime, they failed to accurately compute overtime due when employees received two or more rates of pay for different jobs performed in the same work week. Protection Plus also failed to maintain accurate payroll records. Their actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. In 2018, the company paid $98,949 in overtime back wages and liquidated damages to 158 employees. They also paid $25,000 in civil money penalty for the willful nature of their violations. “The company did not change their pay practices after our 2018 investigation and did not pay employees the wages they were due,” explained Wage and Hour District Director Patricia Lewis in Indianapolis. “Employers must understand these failures hurt workers and their families by denying them the wages they count on to meet their needs. These illegal practices may damage their ability to retain and recruit the workers required for their operations.” In fiscal year 2021, the division recovered more than $6 million in back wages for more than 5,300 workers in the guard services industry, ranked among the division’s top 15 low-wage, high violation industries. “The Wage and Hour Division will continue to hold employers accountable and take appropriate action, including litigation, on behalf of workers when their employer denies them the wages they have rightfully earned,” Lewis added. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for android devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate. Walsh V. Protection Plus Inc. and Raymond Stanley, Case 1:22-cv-00919-JMS-MJD United States District Court Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division

  • US Labor Department recovers $247K in back wages, damages for 15 workers of oil pipeline construction company that illegally denied them overtime
    on July 4, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    CENTER, TX – A federal investigation recovered $247,334 in back wages and liquidated damages for 15 workers of a Texas oil pipeline construction company whose pay practices denied them their full wages, including overtime. The workers were employed at the company’s Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas job sites. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found J&J Raymond Construction LLC paid employees a set day rate and did not pay overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek. Investigators also determined the employer failed to include non-discretionary bonuses when computing the regular rate of pay  and did not maintain accurate records as the Fair Labor Standards Act requires. The division’s findings led to the recovery of $123,667 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to the affected workers. “Paying an employee a day rate does not mean the employer is no longer legally obligated to pay overtime wages,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Robin Mallett in Houston. “Regardless of whether workers are paid by the hour, the piece, the day or on a salary basis, overtime rules still apply. Violations like those found in this case are avoidable. Employers and workers are encouraged to contact the Wage and Hour Division to understand legal rights and responsibilities.” In fiscal year 2021, the division identified more than $36 million in back wages owed to about 21,000 construction industry workers. In its investigations, the division commonly finds violations related to employers failing to pay overtime when required, misclassifying workers as independent contractors, and not paying them for time spent on work-related travel, or pre- and post-shift work. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting construction industry employment to grow at a rate of 6 percent by 2030, with a gain of approximately 400,000 jobs, employers who ensure their workers are paid their rightful wages and benefits will be better positioned to retain and recruit skilled workers. Based in Center, J&J Raymond Construction LLC specializes in oil pipeline construction and has job sites in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Lea en Español.

  • US Department of Labor proposes $315K more in fines for Ohio vehicle parts manufacturer that continues to expose workers to dangerous machine hazards
    on July 4, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    CONNEAUT, OH – An Ohio aluminum vehicle parts manufacturer cited for safety and health violations after a worker in Ravenna suffered fatal injuries in March 2021, continues to put workers at risk. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found General Aluminum Mfg. Co.’s facility in Conneaut exposing workers to similar machine hazards when the agency served warrants on Jan. 3, 2022, and opened an inspection under its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Inspectors found tilt mold devices, sand core machines, and indexing tables at the plant lacked adequate machine guarding and workers performed service and maintenance tasks on industrial machinery without using energy control procedures – commonly known as lockout/tagout – exposing workers to amputation and caught-in hazards. OSHA cited the company for the same violations at the Ravenna facility. OSHA cited General Aluminum Mfg. Co. for two repeat, four serious and two other than serious violations, and assessed $315,952 in proposed penalties following the Conneaut inspection. “General Aluminum’s continued failure to protect its workers is unacceptable, and its refusal to follow industry safety standards and the company’s policies and procedures to prevent injuries or fatalities is incomprehensible,” said OSHA Regional Administrator William Donovan in Chicago. “While the company pledges to improve its safety procedures and training, federal safety inspectors continue to find a lack of accountability by this employer.” In September 2021, OSHA cited the company for 38 violations with $1,671,738 in proposed penalties after an investigation into the March fatality. The company has contested those citations.  “OSHA will continue to take necessary steps to hold General Aluminum accountable for failing to comply with safety and health requirements until the company takes action and demonstrates it is serious about preventing debilitating injuries and saving lives,” Donovan added. In addition to the absence of guarding on the mold machinery, OSHA identified problems with machine guarding and a lack of protective procedures throughout the Conneaut facility. Inspectors also found General Aluminum provided workers with insufficient personal protective equipment, including face shields and aprons, and exposed workers to electrical hazards. Company management signed formal settlement agreements to resolve OSHA citations for machine guarding and lockout/tagout violations found during inspections conducted between 2015 and 2017 and hired a third-party consultant to conduct comprehensive machine guarding and lockout/tagout audits between 2017 and 2019. The audits identified specific machine guarding and lockout/tagout program deficiencies and provided recommendations the company failed to fully implement. Founded in 1943, General Aluminum Mfg. Co. produces engineered automotive castings. The company employs about 1,200 workers nationwide and 180 employees at the Conneaut location. Owned by Park Ohio Holdings Corp. in Cleveland, the company also has locations in Ravenna and Wapakoneta, and in Freemont and Huntington, Indiana. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Learn more about OSHA.

  • El Departamento de Trabajo de EE.UU. recupera $247,000 en salarios atrasados y daños y perjuicios para 15 trabajadores de una empresa de construcción de oleoductos a quienes se les negó ilegalmente el pago de las horas extras
    on July 4, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    CENTER, TX –  Una investigación federal recuperó $247,334 en salarios atrasados y daños y perjuicios para 15 trabajadores de una empresa de construcción de oleoductos de Texas a quienes se les negó su salario completo, incluidas las horas extras. Los trabajadores estaban empleados en las obras de la empresa en Luisiana, Oklahoma y Texas. La División de Horas y Salarios del Departamento de Trabajo de EE.UU. determinó que J&J Raymond Construction LLC pagaba a los empleados una tarifa diaria fija y no pagaba las horas extras cuando trabajaban más de 40 horas en una semana de trabajo. Los investigadores también determinaron que el empleador no incluyó los bonos no discrecionales al calcular la tasa de pago regular y no mantuvo registros precisos como lo exige la Ley de Normas Justas de Trabajo. Los hallazgos de la división condujeron a la recuperación de $123,667 en salarios atrasados y una cantidad igual en daños y perjuicios para los trabajadores afectados. “Pagar a un empleado una tarifa diaria no significa que el empleador ya no esté legalmente obligado a pagar los salarios de las horas extras”, explicó el Directora de Distrito de la División de Horas y Salarios, Robin Mallett, en Houston. “Independientemente de que se pague a los trabajadores por hora, por pieza, por día o sobre la base de un salario, las normas sobre las horas extras siguen siendo aplicables. Las violaciones como las encontradas en este caso pueden ser evitadas. Se anima a los empleadores y a los trabajadores a ponerse en contacto con la División de Horas y Salarios para informarse sobre los derechos y responsabilidades legales”. En el año fiscal 2021, la división identificó más de $36 millones de dólares en salarios atrasados que se debían a unos 21,000 trabajadores de la industria de la construcción. En sus investigaciones, la división comúnmente encuentra violaciones relacionadas con los empleadores que no pagan las horas extras cuando se requiere, clasifican erróneamente a los trabajadores como contratistas independientes y no les pagan por el tiempo utilizado en los traslados relacionados con el trabajo, o el trabajo antes y después del turno. La Oficina de Estadísticas Laborales prevé que el empleo en el sector de la construcción crezca a un ritmo del 6 por ciento para el año 2030, con un aumento de aproximadamente 400,000 puestos de trabajo, por lo que los empleadores que se aseguren de que sus trabajadores reciben los salarios y beneficios que les corresponden estarán en mejor posición para retener y contratar a trabajadores cualificados. Con sede en Center, J&J Raymond Construction LLC se especializa en la construcción de oleoductos y tiene obras en Luisiana, Oklahoma y Texas. Obtenga más información sobre la División de Horas y Salarios, incluida una herramienta de búsqueda que puede utilizar si cree que la división le debe salarios atrasados. El departamento puede hablar con quien llame en más de 200 idiomas a través de la línea de ayuda gratuita de la agencia al 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Read this release in English.