Tag Archives: Labor & Employment

Federal Stop to New Overtime Rules

Do Not Disturb

Six months ago, Partner and Florida Bar Board Certified Labor and Employment Attorney Ellen Leibovitch wrote to tell you about new overtime regulations that were to go into effect on December 1 (see below). However, on November 22, 2016, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction which effectively put a stop to these rules – for now.

The injunction will preserve the status quo until the court decides the rule’s validity, a decision which will come weeks or months down the road and will likely be appealed in any event.

For employers, this ruling means that the new rules will not go into effect on December 1 and that the old regulations will continue to apply until further notice. Additionally, measures the employers planned in contemplation of the new rules going into effect on December 1 can be put on hold for the time being. Employers can decide if measures already taken in anticipation of the sweeping rule changes – such as raising the salary of exempt employees to meet the expected $47,476/year (or $913/week) threshold – should remain in place, although reversal of these changes may be met with employee backlash.

A note of caution: employers should not assume that the overtime rules will never go into effect. This situation is eerily similar to the rule changes made in 2015 regarding the companionship exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In that situation, the Department of Labor announced changes which would render the exemption inapplicable to third party (home care) providers, then the federal court issued an injunction to prevent the changes from going into effect, then an appeals court struck down the injunction; and the changes eventually went into effect a year after the original date. Given the current political climate, your guess is as good as mine as to whether this same scenario will occur with respect to the overtime rules. As always, I will continue to keep you apprised of any developments.

Ellen is a Florida Board Certified Labor and Employment Attorney with Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.  For any employment and labor questions, please contact Ellen below.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main: (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: EML@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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New Overtime Regulations Impacting You

 

 

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Board Certified Labor and Employment Partner Ellen Leibovitch will be speaking on October 20, 2016 about important changes to the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that will go into effect on December 1, 2016.  Ellen, who recently appeared in the Boca Raton Observer, will discuss what employers need to know about the changes to the FLSA to protect their companies.

Please join the South Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Committee on October 20, 2016 for breakfast and a panel discussion on the scope of the new rules and best practices for making sure your business is fully compliant as of day one.  To register online, click here.

Ellen is a Florida Board Certified Labor and Employment Attorney with Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.  For any employment and labor questions, please contact Ellen below.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main: (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: EML@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

 

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New Changes to the FLSA and Compensation toLive-In Domestic Care Workers

Department of Labor

In December 2014, Ellen Leibovitch held a seminar to discuss changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) relevant to third party agencies who employ companions and live-in domestic service employees.  The new regulations – which were set to go into effect on January 1, 2015 – made the long-standing exemptions to the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements for companions and live-in domestic employees inapplicable to third-party employers (like home health care agencies).

Just days after the seminar, a federal court struck down the new regulations.  Since then, the issue has been batted around the courts, but on August 21, 2015, a federal appellate court issued a unanimous opinion affirming the validity of the new regulations.  The appellate court’s opinion became effective on October 13, 2015.  The Department of Labor (DOL) will not begin enforcement of the new rules until November 12, 2015 but, more than likely, the DOL will not begin prosecuting offenders until January 1, 2016.

For more details, go to http://www.dol.gov/whd/homecare/litigation.htm#.VilP87RgRps.email

So what does this mean to you and your businesses?  For those who have been taking a wait-and-see approach or who had hoped that everything would remain unchanged, the time to act is now.  Businesses need to come to grip with the fact that live-in domestic care workers who reside in the private household where they are employed and home-health companions are going to be subject to the FLSA’s overtime and minimum wage requirements as well as the record-keeping requirements.  Among other things, this means these workers need to be paid a minimum wage (currently $8.05 in the State of Florida but likely to increase as of January 1, 2016), that employers need to maintain accurate records of the hours such employees work each day and each week and that overtime must be paid for all hours worked in excess of 40 each week.

Please note that these new rules apply only to employees, not independent contractors.

For additional information about these changes, please contact Ellen M. Leibovitch below:

Ellen M. Leibovitch

Florida Board Certified Labor and Employment Attorney

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: EML@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Wouldn’t You Want Benefits Paid in U.S. dollars?

Assouline & Berlowe

Attorneys Peter Berlowe, Daniel Vielleville, and Cristina Vicens successfully defended a motion dismiss brought by Cargill, Inc. regarding Cargill’s payment of Adela Ortega’s employment benefits .  Ortega, a 19 year employee of Cargill, was primed to be a top executive after her assignment in the United States.  After her position was terminated, Ortega sought benefits due to her as severance.  Cargill wanted to pay Ortega based in Venezuelan bolivars while Ortega wanted be paid in U.S. dollars, a major difference in value.

In a recent article in the Daily Business Review (click here for the article), Peter Berlowe stated:  “We’re very happy we survived the motion to dismiss, because it shows that this case is not about politics or international law.  It’s really an issue of contract. The company claims their guiding principles are keeping and honoring contracts they enter into and doing right by their employees. They ignored both these principles in dealing with our client.”

At one point “Cargill and its Venezuelan affiliate started pointing fingers at each other” when trying to deal with Ortega’s benefits’ claims, stated Daniel Vielleville.

For a detailed review of the case, read the article featured in the Daily Business Review.

Please contact Peter Berlowe or Daniel Vielleville for any questions about the article and for any business litigation and international law concerns.

Peter E. Berlowe, Esq.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

3250 Mary Street, Suite 100

Miami, Florida 33133

Main:  (305) 567-5576

Fax: (305) 567-9343

Email: PEB@AssoulineBerlowe.com

http://www.AssoulineBerlowe.com/

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Home Health Care – Labor Law Changes Take Effect Jan. 1, 2015

Home Health Care

Significant changes in the law become effective on January 1, 2015

January 1, 2015 marks the end of the long-standing “companionship exemption” for agency-employed direct care workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Most importantly, the death of the exemption means that companions and live-in domestic workers who were previously deemed “exempt” from the overtime requirements of the FLSA will now be eligible for significantly higher wages, i.e., time and one-half of a worker’s regular rate of pay for all hours over 40 worked in a week.  Conversely, this means that businesses employing such workers need to adjust their business models to ensure these workers are properly paid for all hours worked.

In adopting these new rules, the Department of Labor pulled no punches when it noted, “[T]he primary effect [of the changes] is the transfer of income from home care agencies. . . to direct care workers.”

Undoubtedly, the changes in the law will expose home care agencies to significant wage and hour liability unless they have prepared in advance to comply with the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements.  Among other things, the changes in the law will require, among other things, the following:

  • Overtime pay for all hours over 40 worked in a week;
  • Payment for sleep time or other breaks unless the employee is completely relieved of all duties during these times
  • Payment for meal periods when the employee is eating with and available to assist the employer’s customer
  • Payment for off-duty time if the employee is considered “on call” on the employer’s premises so that the employee cannot use the time effectively for personal reasons
  • Payment for travel time from one worksite to another during the day

In order to assist business which employ these workers to comply with these changes, Assouline & Berlowe, P.A., is hosting a FREE breakfast seminar on December 17, 2014 from 8:30-10:00 a.m. at Lakeside Terrace, 7800 Glades Road, in Boca Raton.  During the seminar, the changes in the law will be outlined and a discussion had on what businesses need to do to become compliant with the FLSA’s requirements.

laborEllen M. Leibovitch, a Florida Bar Board Certified Labor & Employment lawyer and head of the firm’s labor and employment practice, will explain to whom the new laws apply, how businesses will be impacted by the changes and recommendations of best practices for compliance. Assisting Ellen in the presentation will be Michael Seifert and Wendra Johnson, SPHR, of CBIZ Payroll, who will highlight the time, payroll and other records that employers need to retain in order to be compliant with the law as of January 1.  Important to remember is that an employer’s failure to maintain proper records is, in itself, a violation of the FLSA.

If you are interested in learning more about the changes in the law applicable to businesses employing direct care workers (companions), please RSVP today and plan to attend this event.  While attendance is FREE, you must be registered in advance to attend.  Please send your response to rsvp@assoulineberlowe.com.  If you have any questions, call 561-361-6566.

Ellen M. Leibovitch

Florida Board Certified Labor and Employment Attorney

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: EML@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

 

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Women Lawyers: Outstanding Public Service Award – Congratulations!

Please join the Firm, as we congratulate the South Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers (SPBC FAWL) on receiving State FAWL’s Outstanding Public Service Award for its Educating Tomorrow’s Adults program.

This program focused on educating young adults in local high schools on their legal rights and responsibilities upon turning age 18. 

The Firm is proud that this program was spearheaded by Assouline & Berlowe Partner Ellen Leibovitch, who heads the Firm’s labor & employment practice group.  Ellen, who is past president of SPBC FAWL and was one of the first women in the state to receive State FAWL’s Leader in the Law award, will be accepting this award on behalf of SPBC FAWL at a June 27, 2013 reception during The Florida Bar’s annual meeting at the Boca Raton Resort.

Congratulations to SPBC FAWL and SuperLawyer and Board Cerfied Labor & Employment Attorney Ellen Leibovitch for this well deserved award, honor, and achievement!

For more information on Ellen Leibovitch, and her practice, go to: http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/Ellen_Leibovitch.asp or you can contact her by e-mail at eml@assoulineberlowe.com

Assouline & Berlowe is a full service business law firm with offices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Boca Raton.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

Miami: 305-567-5576

Ft. Lauderdale: 965-929-1899

Boca Raton: 561-361-6566

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Assouline & Berlowe is pleased to announce that Ellen M. Leibovitch has joined the firm as Partner

 

Ellen Leibovitch is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law. 

 

Ms. Leibovitch is a partner and the head of the firm’s labor and employment law group.  As such, Ms. Leibovitch focuses her practice on labor and employment law counseling and litigation, as well as commercial and business litigation. In 2004, she achieved Board Certification in Labor and Employment Law by The Florida Bar.

 

Ms. Leibovitch has significant jury and bench trial experience, trying cases at the state, federal and agency levels in the areas of theft of trade secrets, injunctive relief, overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, defamation, gender discrimination, age discrimination, sexual harassment and breach of partnership and other contracts. She is also skilled in drafting, analyzing and evaluating employee handbooks, as well as employment, non-compete, confidentiality, severance, separation, independent contractor and similar employment-related agreements.

 

Over the years, Ms. Leibovitch has made numerous presentations to clients and organizations on employment-related topics, including records retention requirements, unveiling the myths about employment laws, navigating through the Fair Labor Standards Act, how to develop and implement policies against harassment and discrimination, how to recognize and prevent harassment in the work place, how to investigate and remedy complaints of harassment and discrimination, how to implement diversity programs and the effective use of employee handbooks and personnel policies.

 

Ms. Leibovitch is a former President of the South Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers and an ex officio member of its Board of Directors. She is also the Co-Chair of the South Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Committee and serves on the Wage & Hour Administration Liaison sub-committee of the Labor & Employment Section of The Florida Bar.

 

Ms. Leibovitch is a long-standing member of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s “Successful Women in Business” group, as well as the West Boca Chamber of Commerce’s newly-formed “Women in Business” division. She is also an active member of Human Resources Palm Beach County, the local chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management, and serves on the fund-raising committee for the foundation atSpanish RiverCommunityHigh Schoolwhere her two children attend school.

 

In 2011, Ms. Leibovitch was named one of the “Top Attorneys inFlorida” by The Wall Street Journal and included in the 2011 edition of Thomson Reuters’ “Florida Super Lawyers.”

 

Ms. Leibovitch also sits on the Board of Directors of Senior Care Strategies, Inc.

 

We at Assouline & Berlowe are pleased to welcome Ms. Leibovitch to our team.

 

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