Must an employee making more than $200k still be paid overtime? Definitely, maybe.

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It is hard to imagine an employee earning over $200,000 per year and still being eligible for overtime pay. Yet, this is exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court held when it decided Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. v. Hewitt, last week.

Michael Hewitt worked for Helix Energy (and a sister company) as an offshore oil rig Toolpusher, supervising a dozen or so employees. He was paid a daily rate for each day he worked.  During the course of his employment, Hewitt’s pay ranged from $963 to $1,341 per day.  Hewitt worked long hours but received no extra pay when he worked more than 40 hours each week.  So he sued for overtime pay.

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The Overwhelmed Employee and the Clueless Employer–A Tale of the Hidden Costs of Off-the-Clock Work

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In the last few months, a number of employers have reported being flabbergasted to discover non-exempt employees working very early mornings, late nights or weekends “off the clock” (after working 40 hours on-the-clock).  Apparently, no one in management asked or knew that off-the-clock work had occurred.  How does this happen?

Here are a few scenarios:

  1. Employees were told not to work more than 40 hours/week but also understood they had to complete all their work by the end of their shift (or else!);
  2. Incompetent employees were not able to complete their tasks in 40 hours but did not want anyone to know, so they worked extra hours off-the-clock;
  3. Without telling anyone, employees worked weekends and/or nights at home; or
  4. Employees loved their employer and thought they were helping to make the company better by “donating” extra hours to get the job done

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Bet You Didn’t Know What I Learned This Month!

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You learn something new every day in the field of employment law. As we close out January 2023, here are five interesting things that I’ve learned this month in no particular order:

Over the years, there have been a number of employees and employers who have been so upset with the EEOC that they wished they could set the EEOC on fire (figuratively). However, on the evening of January 5th, two culprits broke into the EEOC headquarters in Washington, D.C. overnight and set the EEOC’s office on actual fire. They were arrested onsite. No motive has been reported yet for the arson. However, the fire did a fair amount of damage. According to Bloomberg Law, in order to allow the EEOC to conduct “water remediation efforts,” they had to convert its onsite live presentation on Artificial Intelligence (“A.I.”) to a virtual presentation set for tomorrow, January 31st.

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WEBINAR: Leveraging your 401(k) Plan to Increase Employee Retention

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Thursday, February 16th, 2023 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

A 401(k) can do more than help employees save for retirement. New laws, including SECURE 2.0 have created additional ways for plans to better serve the needs of employees. Please join Shareholders Sharon Quinn Dixon and Andy McLaughlin for this webinar to discover how.


Credit Information: This program is pending HRCI, SHRM & CLE credit confirmation. Once approved, credit information will be sent to all registrants. 

I Took a Short Vacation and All I Got Was Changes to Federal Employment Laws

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Earlier this week, I returned from a short vacation to find the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took action against three companies requiring them to invalidate their noncompete agreements with employees. Then yesterday, the FTC rolled out a proposed rule which, if enacted, would turn many state laws on the enforcement of noncompetition agreements (including Florida’s) on their heads.

I also came back to read that the United States passed two new federal laws providing additional protection to pregnant and nursing employees.

My partner, Lisa Berg will provide a more detailed blog post on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (with the totally appropriate acronym-the PUMP Act).

However, let me give you a brief overview of recent Federal Trade Commission actions.

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Happy Holidays, or Is It? Steering Clear of Religious Discrimination and Other Landmines During the Holidays!

It’s that time of year again and we are all excited to be able to attend our holidays in-person post-COVID. The holidays are wonderful, but can produce some dicey situations for your HR Department.

A couple of holiday planning suggestions to help you navigate these holiday landmines include:

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Happy Holidays from Stearns Weaver Miller’s Labor & Employment Department!

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Thank you for being a subscriber. Wishing you a joyous holiday season and happy, healthy year ahead.

We hope that BeLabor the Point has brought you important information throughout the year and a few smiles along the way. Speaking of smiles, click on the image below to view our Labor & Employment Law Department’s holiday card!

Florida Court Rules Expectant Father Not Entitled to FMLA

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Employers are regularly having to grapple with how and when to give their employees leave when their employees are expecting a child.  Unfortunately, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not always provide the clearest answer as to when employers are obligated to provide employees with protected leave.  However, a federal court in the Middle District of Florida has just decided a case, Tanner v. Stryker Corp., which held that the FMLA does not require employers to give their employees job protected leave before the birth of a child. Instead, employers would only be required to provide protected leave after the birth of the employee’s child or under limited exceptions.

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Top Takeaways from Our 2022 Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar

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Wow, it has been a whirlwind past few weeks! It was great to see so many of you at our Labor Seminars in Miami, Tampa and Tallahassee. We hope you were able to gain valuable insight into a wide range of topics of interest and importance to you.

If you did not fill our surveys, feel free to fill them out now. We read every one and use your feedback to improve future Seminars and determine topics and content. Congrats to the winners of our Evaluation Raffle listed below!

  • Miami Survey: Marla Alpizar, City of Miami Beach & Elizabeth Cabezas Villano, Seaboard Marine
  • Tampa Survey: Kim Steager, Landis Evans + Partners
  • Tallahassee Survey: LaShonda Manuel, CW Roberts Contracting, Inc.

Congrats to our blog contest winners who will receive complimentary registrations for next year’s seminars!

  • Miami: Veronica Motrinec, Professional Aviation Management
  • Tampa: Mabel Duran, Curaleaf
  • Tallahassee: Monica Ross, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

If you did not receive your HRCI, SHRM, and CLE credits, please email us.

If you would like additional copies of the 2022 edition of our most requested publication, The Pocket Guide to Florida Employment Laws, email us. We are more than happy to send you a few copies.

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Avoiding Halloween Horrors at Work

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Last week I took my 9 year old son to purchase a Halloween costume (he of course chose to be Thor). While I was in the costume shop, I decided to look for a costume for myself because my firm was doing a costume contest at work. However, every costume that I saw was more risqué than the next! After a well-meaning (although clueless) sales associate brought me six costumes, one more inappropriate than the next (e.g., dominatrix, naughty nurse, Harley Quinn, etc.), she eventually enlisted the help of her manager who suggested I wear a fifties-style pink poodle skirt, bobby socks and cardigan, and dress as Sandy from Grease. Finally, a costume suitable for a Labor & Employment Lawyer!

This silly experience reminded me of a blog post that I wrote a few years back with some important tips for HR departments to keep in mind if your company is having a Halloween party. View the post here: Halloween is a Scary Time for Employers | BeLabor the Point.

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