The Legal Line®

Individual Liability for Employment Discrimination

January 23, 2013

Two recent cases out of New Hampshire and Massachusetts highlight the contours of individual liability for discriminatory practices under state and federal law. In brief, while federal anti-discrimination laws do not provide for individual liability for supervisors, decision-makers, and other coworkers, both states’ anti-discrimination laws contain language that may subject employees to individual liability for … Read more

Advance Notice of Non-Competes Required in New Hampshire

January 18, 2013

As of July 2012, New Hampshire legislation requires that non-competes and “non-piracy” agreements be given to employees in advance of an offer of employment or an offer to change job positions. RSA 275:70 reads, in its entirety: “Prior to or concurrent with making an offer of change in job classification or an offer of employment, … Read more

IRS Delays Tip v. Service Charge Rules Until 2014

January 8, 2013

For many restaurants and hotels, it was not the “Fiscal Cliff” or the Mayan Apocalypse that made them nervous this year but rather the January 1, 2013 deadline for compliance with IRS Revenue Ruling 2012-18. That announcement, issued on June 25, 2012, requires all restaurants to treat “tips” differently from “service charges” for tax withholding … Read more

Starbucks Owes Big Bucks in Mass.

November 12, 2012

In a recent decision, Matamoros v. Starbucks Corp., the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a District Court ruling that Starbucks violated the Massachusetts Wage Act by requiring that baristas share their tip pool with their shift supervisors. As a result, Starbucks owes Massachusetts baristas employed between 2005 and 2011 approximately $14 million. The Court … Read more

Common Sense Does Not Necessarily Govern Social Media Rules

November 8, 2012

All employers, whether their workforce is unionized or not, need to know about the developments at the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) regarding its developing rules concerning social media policies in the work place. On May 30, 2012, the NLRB issued a memorandum regarding social media policies in the workplace, which provides numerous examples of … Read more

Darden Faces Wage and Hour Class Action Alleging Side work Abuse

October 3, 2012

The Lawsuit: On September 6, 2012, two former employees brought an action in the Southern District of Florida bringing individual and collective actions against Darden Restaurants, owner of Olive Garden, Long Horn Steakhouse, Red Lobster and The Capital Grille, for alleged FLSA violations. The primary issue concerns side work, which plaintiffs claim is excessive at … Read more

Harvard Club to Pay Its Wait Staff $4 Million

September 24, 2012

A dispute over how guest charges were characterized by the Harvard Club of Boston has cost it $4 million, the result of settling a class-action lawsuit filed by its servers. The Harvard Club pays its servers well over minimum wage and many times more than the lower tip-credit minimum wage that most restaurants pay their … Read more

SJC Rules the First Amendment’s “Ministerial Exception” to Anti-discrimination laws applies to Religious Education Teacher

September 21, 2012

We live in a different country. The First Amendment protects religious institutions from government interference and, in the case of Temple Emanuel Newton v. TheMassachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, prevents a religious education teacher from bringing a claim under the state and federal antidiscrimination laws against the religious institution that employed her. In many ways, the … Read more