LAW531 Week 5 Employment Law and Worker Protection Presentation Only do slides 9, 10, 11, 12.
The instructor asked that we outline the assigned chapter. Her instructions are as follows:
– All slides must contain speaker notes
– She stated we could copy/paste from the book
– Copy/paste from other sources
– Be sure to cite our references
– She does not want the slides to be “Wordy”
– She wants us to use bullet points with a few words
– We can insert videos in place of our bullet points as long as it’s relevant to the chapter content
– We can use our experiences as they pertain to the contents in the chapter
– Pictures are ok, but keep to a minimum
– Pictures must be relevant to the contents of the chapter CHAPTER 20:
Employment Law and
May 6, 2019
Introduction to Employment
Law and Worker Protection
Workers Compensation cont.
O Case 20.1 Kelley v. Coca-Cola Enterprises,
Occupational Safety cont.
O Case 20.2 R. Williams Construction
Company v. Occupational Safety and Health
Fair Labor Standards Act
Fair Labor Standards Act cont.
O Case 20.3 U.S. SUPREME COURT Case
IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez
Consolidated Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act and Employee
Retirement Income Security Act
Family and Medical Leave Act
Family and Medical Leave Act
Government Programs cont.
Fair Labor Standards Act
In 1938, Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to protect workers.3 The
FLSA applies to private employers and employees engaged in the production of goods for
interstate commerce. The U.S. Department of Labor is empowered to enforce the FLSA.
Private civil actions are also permitted under the FLSA.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
A federal act enacted in 1938 to protect workers. It prohibits child labor and spells out
minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.
The FLSA forbids the use of oppressive child labor and makes it unlawful to ship goods
produced by businesses that use oppressive child labor. The Department of Labor has adopted
the following regulations that define lawful child labor: (1) Children under the age of 14 cannot
work except as newspaper deliverers, (2) children ages 14 and 15 may work limited hours in
nonhazardous jobs approved by the Department of Labor (e.g., restaurants), and (3) children ages
16 and 17 may work unlimited hours in nonhazardous jobs. The Department of Labor determines
which occupations are hazardous (e.g., mining, roofing, working with explosives). Children who
work in agricultural employment and child actors and performers are exempt from these
restrictions. Persons age 18 and older may work at any job, whether it is hazardous or not.
Critical Legal Thinking
1. Should the minimum wage be increased? What are the economic consequences of raising
the minimum wage?
The FLSA establishes minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for workers. Managerial,
administrative, and professional employees are exempt from the acts wage and hour provisions.
The FLSA requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal
minimum wage for all hours worked. The federal minimum wage is set by Congress and can be
changed. As of 2014, it was set at $7.25 per hour. The Department of Labor permits employers
to pay less than the minimum wage to students and apprentices. An employer may reduce the
minimum wage by an amount equal to the reasonable cost of food and lodging provided to
There is a special minimum wage rule for tipped employees. An employee who earns tips can be
paid $2.13 an hour by an employer if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the
minimum wage. If an employees tips and direct employer payment does not equal the minimum
wage, the employer must make up the difference.
Over half of the states have enacted minimum wage laws that set minimum wages at a rate
higher than the federal rate. Some cities have enacted minimum wage requirements, usually
called living wage laws, which also set higher minimum wage rates than the federal level.
Go to www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm . What is the minimum wage for your state?
Under the FLSA, an employer cannot require nonexempt employees to work more than 40 hours
per week unless they are paid overtime pay of one-and-a-half times their regular pay for each
hour worked in excess of 40 hours that week. Each week is treated separately.
If an employee works 50 hours one week and 30 hours the next, the employer owes the employee
10 hours of overtime pay for the first week.
In the following U.S. Supreme Court case, the Court was called on to interpret the FLSA.
CASE 20.3 U.S. SUPREME COURT CASE Fair Labor Standards Act IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez
546 U.S. 21, 126 S.Ct. 514, 2005 U.S. Lexis 8373 (2005) Supreme Court of the United States
The relevant text describes the workday as roughly the period from whistle to whistle.
IBP, Inc., produces fresh beef, pork, and related meat products. At its plant in Pasco,
Washington, it employed approximately 178 workers in its slaughter division and 800 line
workers. All workers must wear gear such as outer garments, hardhats, earplugs, gloves, aprons,
leggings, and boots. IBP requires employees to store their equipment and tools in company
locker rooms, where the workers don and doff their equipment and protective gear.
The pay of production workers is based on time spent cutting and bagging meat. Pay begins with
the first piece of meat and ends with the last piece of meat. IBP employees filed a class action
lawsuit against IBP to recover compensation for the time spent walking between the locker room
and the production floor before and after their assigned shifts. The employees alleged that IBP
was in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The U.S. district court held that the walking time between the locker room and the production
floor was compensable time and awarded damages. The U.S. court of appeals affirmed the
district courts decision. IBP appealed. The U.S. Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to
hear the appeal.
Is the time spent by employees walking between the locker room and production area
compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act?
Language of the U.S. Supreme Court
The Department of Labor has adopted the continuous workday rule, which means that the
workday is generally defined as the period between the commencement and completion on the
same workday of an employees principal activity or activities. The relevant text describes the
workday as roughly the period from whistle to whistle. Moreover, during a continuous
workday, any walking time that occurs after the beginning of the employees first principal
activity and before the end of the employees last principal activity is covered by the FLSA.
The U.S. Supreme Court held that the time spent by employees walking between the locker room
and the production areas of the plant was compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
1. Was this the type of situation that the FLSA was meant to address? Was it ethical for IBP
not to pay its employees for the time challenged in this case?
Exemptions from Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay Requirements
The FLSA establishes the following categories of exemptions from federal minimum wage and
overtime pay requirements:
You need to know that a member of Congress who refuses to allow the minimum wage to come
up for a vote made more money during last years one month government shutdown than a
minimum wage worker makes in an entire year.
William Jefferson Bill Clinton,
former president of the United States
Executive exemption. The executive exemption applies to executives who are compensated
on a salary basis, who engage in management, who have authority to hire employees, and
who regularly direct two or more employees.
Administrative employee exemption. The administrative employee exemption applies to
employees who are compensated on a salary or fee basis, whose primary duty is the
performance of office or nonmanual work, and whose work includes the exercise of
discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
Learned professional exemption. The learned professional exemption applies to
employees compensated on a salary or fee basis that perform work that is predominantly
intellectual in character, who possess advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning,
and whose advanced knowledge was acquired through a prolonged course of specialized
Highly compensated employee exemption. The highly compensated employee exemption
applies to employees who are paid total annual compensation of $100,000 or more; perform
office or nonmanual work; and regularly perform at least one of the duties of an exempt
executive, administrative, or professional employee.
Computer employee exemption. The computer employee exemption applies to employees
who are compensated either on a salary or fee basis; who are employed as computer systems
analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, or other similarly skilled workers in the
computer field; and who are engaged in the design, development, documentation, analysis,
creation, testing, or modification of computer systems or programs.
Outside sales representative exemption. The outside sales representative exemption
applies to employees who are paid by the client or customer, whose primary duty is making
sales or obtaining orders or contracts for services, and who are customarily and regularly
engaged away from the employers place of business.
Sometimes employers give employees the title of manager to avoid the minimum wage and
overtime pay requirements of the FLSA.
A big-box store labels lower-level workers who actually stock shelves with goods as managers in
order to avoid paying them overtime pay
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
and Employee Retirement Income Security Act
In addition to the statutes already discussed in this chapter, the federal government has enacted
many other statutes that regulate employment relationships. Two important federal statutes are
the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act. Both are discussed in the following paragraphs.
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 19855 provides that an
employee of a private employer or the employees beneficiaries must be offered the opportunity
to continue his or her group health insurance after the voluntary or involuntary termination of a
workers employment or the loss of coverage due to certain qualifying events defined in the law.
The employer must notify covered employees and their beneficiaries of their rights under
COBRA. To continue coverage, a person must pay the required group rate premium. Under most
circumstances, COBRA coverage is available for 18 months after employment has ended.
Government employees are subject to parallel provisions found in the Public Health Service Act.
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
A federal law that permits employees and their beneficiaries to continue their group
health insurance after an employees employment has ended.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act
Employers are not required to establish pension plans for their employees. If they do, however,
they are subject to the record-keeping, disclosure, fiduciary duty, and other requirements of the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) .6 ERISA is a complex act designed to
prevent fraud and other abuses associated with private pension funds. Federal, state, and local
government pension funds are exempt from its coverage. ERISA is administered by the
Department of Labor.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
A federal act designed to prevent fraud and other abuses associated with private pension
Among other things, ERISA requires pension plans to be in writing and to name a pension fund
manager. The pension fund manager owes a fiduciary duty to act as a prudent person in
managing the fund and investing its assets. No more than 10 percent of a pension funds assets
can be invested in the securities of the sponsoring employer.
Vesting occurs when an employee has a nonforfeitable right to receive pension benefits. First,
ERISA provides for immediate vesting of each employees own contributions to the plan.
Second, it requires employers contributions to be either (1) totally vested after five years (cliff
vesting) or (2) gradually vested over a seven-year period and completely vested after that time.
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