Wage & Hour
The purpose and goal of Miller & Martin's wage and hour practice group is to help the firm's clients achieve compliance with all aspects of federal and state wage and hour law. This includes assisting businesses with employee classification issues; overtime, minimum wage, and work time issues; and employee timekeeping and recordkeeping issues. Services provided by attorneys in this practice group include defense of wage and hour litigation (including class and collective actions), assistance with wage and hour audits and investigations by the United States Department of Labor and other governmental agencies, conducting or assisting with wage and hour self-audits, reviewing and creating wage and hour policies, and providing general assistance, advice, and counseling on wage and hour issues.
In the area of defending wage and hour class and collective actions, we have had many successes in jurisdictions across the country. While these types of cases rarely go to trial, our successes often are found in settlements which are extremely favorable to the employer due to our aggressive investigation and litigation. For example, the California Court of Appeal recently confirmed an extremely low class action settlement over repeated and rabid protests by an objector (and his attorney). The California Supreme Court refused to take the matter up on review and so the settlement stands. In another recent national class and collective action, there was a legitimate concern that the company could not continue to operate due to the potential exposure in the case. After a hard-fought battle, we negotiated a very low settlement for the company such that it could continue to operate and would not be crippled by the settlement payments.
Not all class and collective actions in the wage and hour arena are settled. We obtained summary judgment in an case that was filed as a nationwide class action challenging a restaurant chain’s tip sharing policy. The 6th Circuit affirmed, holding that the DOL’s opinion letters that would have declared the company policy to be illegal were entitled to absolutely no deference. In Florida, our team recently obtained summary judgment against a putative class of truck drivers, claiming that the Motor Carrier Act exemption served as a defense. This summary judgment affected not only the Florida class members, but established a precedent that the company and other employers could use to defend against future class actions in other jurisdictions.