Sabine Jean, ABA Labor and Employment Law Section Volume 48 Number 2, Winter 2020
Use Of Statistical Evidence In Complex Wage Litigation
Adam T. Klein and Tarik F. Ajami. Statistical evidence has taken its place as a core class of evidence in complex employment cases. Yet despite the centrality of statistics in the field, there is precious little caselaw addressing the use of expert statistical evidence in complex wage-and-hour litigation. However, as a growing number of practitioners have recognized, class and collective wage-and-hour litigation is as well-suited or better-suited for the use of statistical experts as are Title VII and other employment actions.
Off-The-Clock Claims From The Employee's Perspective
Employment law attorney Adam T. Klein, and Sean Farhang. Chapter 8 from Compensation, Work Hours and Benefits: Proceedings of the New York 57th Annual Conference on Labor edited by Hirsch, Samuel Estreicher 05/05/2009
In this paper we discuss legal issues relevant to off-the-clock wage and hour claims. By “off-the-clock” claims we refer to claims alleging that the defendant failed to pay an employee for work time which was compensable under relevant wage and hour law. Our primary focus is application of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to off-the-clock claims.
The Epidemic Of Employer Misclassification Of Employees As Independent Contractors Under The Fair Labor Standards Act, And The Courts' Response
Justin M. Swartz, and Mariko Hirose, and contributions by Piper Hoffman, 2009
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)’s compensation requirements, such as minimum wages and overtime pay, apply only to “employees.” Chao v. Mid-Atl. Installation Servs., Inc., 16 F. App'x 104, 105 (4th Cir. 2001). Employers can get around these requirements and lower their tax bills at the same time by classifying workers as “independent contractors” instead of “employees.” Employers classify as independent contractors many workers who do not meet the legal definition: the Department of Labor estimates that up to 30% of U.S. employers misclassify workers. Courts have found rampant violations across certain industries.
Justin Swartz and Rachel Bien, Section of Labor & Employment Law, American Bar Association, Vol. 35, Number 4, Summer 2007
Few doubt the merits of diversity in the workplace. Indeed, a host of organizational leaders from chief executive officers to top military brass have recently touted the importance of a diverse labor force. As a result, an entire industry has emerged, geared toward eradicating workplace inequality.
Many thoughtful ideas have made their way onto "best practices" lists that identify methods to increase the representation of historically underrepresented groups in corporations and firms.
Despite all of this attention, however, the challenge of actually achieving diversity remains. As Alexandra Kalev, Frank Dobbin, and Erin Kelly wrote in a recent article examining the effectiveness of employers' efforts to promote diversity, "We know a lot about the disease of workplace inequality, but not much about the cure." "Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies," 71 Am. Soc. Rev. 589, 590 (August 2006).
At the 2007 National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law in Charleston, South Carolina, the Section's Equal Employment Opportunity Committee (EEOC) presented two panels that focused on efforts to increase diversity in private sector workplaces, including law firms. The consensus that emerged from both panels was clear: truly overcoming inequality in the workplace requires more than changing hearts and minds. It demands a structural, top-down approach with incentives for meeting concrete diversity goals.
Ethics Corner: Third Circuit Vindicates Plaintiff's Attorney
Justin M. Swartz and Cara E. Greene. July, 2007. Ethics Corner is a regular contribution by the ABA, Labor & Employment Law Section’s Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee.
The Third Circuit recently overturned a district court order disqualifying a plaintiff’s attorney who had conducted an ex parte interview of the defendant’s administrative assistant. EEOC v. HORA, Inc., No. 05-5393, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 15705 (3d Cir. June 29, 2007) (unpublished decision). Characterizing the disqualification as “draconian,” the Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion because the lawyer did not violate any ethics rules, and, even if she had, there was no prejudice to the defendant.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Jana Barnett, represented Manessta Beverly in a sex harassment and retaliation case against a Days Inn franchise and its management company. During discovery, Barnett conducted an ex parte interview of Debbie Richardson, an administrative assistant at the Days Inn. The district court disqualified Barnett for conducting the interview, finding that she violated Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct (“PRPC”) Rules 4.2, 4.4, and 5.7.
The Third Circuit reversed, holding that Barnett did not violate Rule 4.2 because the administrative assistant was not a member of the organization with whom ex parte contact was forbidden. The Third Circuit recently overturned a district court order disqualifying a plaintiff’s attorney who had conducted an ex parte interview of the defendant’s administrative assistant.
Employer Credit-History Checks And Criminal Record Checks Of Job Applicants For Hiring Decisions: The Illegality Under Title VII Disparate Impact Doctrine
Adam T. Klein, ReNika Moore, and Professor Scott A. Moss, May 3, 2007.
The legality under Title VII of employer use of credit-history checks as a job criterion or investigative tool is a question best answered in several parts. First, are employee credit-history checks a sufficiently widespread practice to merit the issuance of written guidance by the EEOC? Second, are employee credit-history checks an employment practice that has a disproportionately negative impact on African-Americans (and other protected groups as well)? Third, are employee credit-history checks a practice that is job-related and consistent with business necessity? Fourth, and perhaps most broadly, would barring the use of employee credit-history information in determining employment suitability comport with the goals and purposes of Title VII? Each question will be answered in turn...
Adam T. Klein, Esq. Tarik F. Ajami, Esq. Douglas C. James, Esq. Rachel Wilhelm, 2006
Technophobes, relax: electronic discovery is, at its core, just discovery. And being discovery, it is fundamentally the process of locating, reviewing, and producing materials that are not privileged and that are reasonably likely to lead to evidence admissible at trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). But today, virtually every document on the planet is generated and stored in some kind of digital format. The practical effect of this is that plaintiffs and defendants alike are, perhaps unknowingly, sitting atop a mountain of invisible documents, many of which may well be discoverable in the event of litigation.
Use Of ADR Procedures To Resolve Complex Employment Discrimination Litigation From A Plaintiff's Perspective: No Thanks
Authored by Adam T. Klein, Tarik F. Ajami and Mark R. Humowiecki, 2004. Arbitration of employment discrimination claims – be it a hybrid like “med/arb” and “arb/med” or pure arbitration – at least from a plaintiff’s perspective, offers no real advantages. To the contrary, it appears that the two main objectives of “cram-down” arbitration of employment disputes are (1) to discourage the filing of these claims in the first place and (2) to eliminate the possibility of class action litigation. Once forced into arbitration, the claimant is at a distinct disadvantage due to inequities in information access relative to the employer, the lack of public transparency, the lack of meaningful appellate review, and the “repeat player” dynamic.
Can Law Firm Partners Sue The Firm For Employment Discrimination?
Employment attorneys Wayne Outten and Justin Swartz. This article originally appeared in Law Journal Newsletters' Law Firm Partnership & Benefits Report, February 2004. For more information, visit www.ljnonline.com.
This article will first discuss reasons that law firms, especially large firms, are susceptible to discrimination suits by their partners. Next, it will explain two threshold requirements for law firm partners to sue their firms for employment discrimination. Both of these requirements turn on whether certain partners are deemed employees. Third, the article will discuss the Supreme Court’s Clackamas decision and lower court decisions that preceded Clackamas but used similar analyses. Finally, it will note that,under some federal and state laws, law firms are vulnerable even if their partners are not deemed employees.Discussion of: reasons law firms may be susceptible to discrimination suits by their partners; two required thresholds for filing such a suit; Supreme Court's Clackamas decision; and finally a note on why some law firms are vulnerable even if their partners are not deemed employees.