In Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., the Supreme Court clarified the language contained within the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (Act) that forbids employers “to discharge . . . any employee because such employee has filed any complaint” alleging a violation of the Act, 29 U. S. C. §215(a)(3). In reversing the Seventh Circuit Court, the Supreme Court held that the scope of statutory term “filed any complaint” includes ORAL, as well as written, complaints.
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A public hearing was held in Trenton, New Jersey on April 15, 2011 regarding a proposal to amend N.J.A.C. 12:56-6.1 and 12:56-7 with regard to exemptions from overtime compensation for executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development specifically wants to repeal its existing regulations for these exemptions and adopt the language of the federal counterparts instead. While the goal is to eliminate any inconsistencies between the state and federal regulations, the effect will be to lessen the burden on New Jersey employers hoping to justify denying overtime compensation to certain employees.
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I have written about this issue of misclassification in our firm’s class action blog, but my firm’s recent filing of a lawsuit on behalf of misclassified Allstate agents reminded me again of the significance of this issue. Millions of workers are intentionally misclassified by their employers as independent contractors. Some of the reasons employers misclassify workers may be to avoid paying overtime compensation, workers compensation, family medical leave and/or unemployment benefits, among others.
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In a recent ruling against Crozer Chester Medical Center, U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno found that physician’s assistants (PAs) are entitled to receiving overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. The Judge disagreed with the defendant’s argument that PAs are exempt from the FLSA overtime regulations under the professional employee exemption.
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With potentially hundreds of millions of dollars unaccounted for, the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office has suspended, and intends to terminate, most of the managers who have handled sheriff’s sales of foreclosed Philadelphia properties. The Director of Finance and Compliance, the Solicitor and the Real Estate Supervisor – all suspended. The private company that handled sheriff’s sales – fired. All sheriff’s sales are on hold for the next two months, and the Philadelphia District Attorney has been put on notice. This upheaval is mostly due to the hard work and investigation of Philadelphia’s City Controller, Alan Butkovitz, who concluded that former Sheriff John D. Green and his staff created “an opportunity for fraud” by failing to adequately track $53 million handled by the Sheriff’s Office.
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The future of consumer class action litigation may be at stake in a case scheduled for oral argument next week before the Supreme Court. In AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion, the Court will decide whether corporations can ban class actions in the fine print of their contracts with consumers, and thus eliminate the ability of consumers to band together in order to fight unfair and fraudulent corporate practices. The elimination of this type of suit would leave consumers helpless in situations where they were defrauded by companies for relatively small amounts.
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Pogust Braslow & Millrood recently filed a Complaint against Banco Santander, S.A. and Soveriegn Bank involving unfair and excessive overdraft fees. The plaintiff in this case, Chris Shalaby, was charged hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees due to the banks’ reordering of certain transactions. These overdraft fees and those charged to thousands of other customers have become major sources of profit for Banco Santander, S.A. and Soveriegn Bank over the years.
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In what has become a more commonplace practice, from water delivery companies to propane gas suppliers, consumers continue to continue to be hit with hidden fuel surcharges. A class action lawsuit was recently filed against Suburban Propane in Federal Court in New Jersey on behalf of current and former residential propane customers of Suburban Propane. The lawsuit alleges that Suburban Propane unlawfully charged its customers certain fees, including tank pick up fees, pump out fees, restocking fees, delivery fees, regulatory fees, transportation fuel surcharges, and other fees that were not adequately disclosed.
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