By Alex Passantino








‘Twas the week before Christmas, in a year for the ages.

So here’s our latest recap of hours and wages.

The letters and laws. The regulations and cases.

A year’s worth of matters that impacted workplaces.


We begin up at One First, where SCOTUS debated

A trio of cases we’d call “wage-hour-related.”

A split decision came down–with the usual camps–

And the FAA’s light was shining with the brightest of Lamps.

Plus an unambiguous holding, a simple conclusion:

Class arbitration is toast if there’s any confusion.

But lest you think arbitration only gets protected,

Where trucking’s involved, SCOTUS declared it rejected.

As to delegated gateway questions like “Shouldn’t we be in a court?”…

“Arbitrators rule first,” was the dissent-less retort.


Over at DOL, this year has been merry.

There’s a confirmed Administrator and a new Secretary.

And a regulatory agenda so full and ambitious.

Will they make it in time? Initial signs are propitious!

The first rule is final, updating Part 541.

Now we just hope that this multi-year journey is done.

“Obama’s salary was too high!”; “Bush’s is too little!”

The solution? They literally went right down the middle.

Regular rate is done, too. Excluding some perks and some bennies.

And some overtime payments that amounted to pennies.

Joint employment’s up next–the new test is factual,

Requiring control of the worker, and that control must be actual.

Their proposals on fluctuation and tips will be plenty

To keep Wage & Hour busy through most of 2020.

Then throw in some new letters that express opinions with grace,

Like one on independent contractors in an e-marketplace.

In D.C., they’re working hard to make compliance seem easy,

But there’s another locale that makes employers feel … queasy.


California. Eureka! We’ve found the location.

The eternal source of employer consternation.

Just as marketplace businesses are starting to thrive,

California steps in and says “Here’s AB5.”

The federal fight on arbitration? It’s all but said and done.

Well, there goes California again with AB51.

Between the state and its cities, so many minimum wages,

And computing regular rate requires consultation with sages.

But California is not the sole source driving employer fear,

For New York and New Jersey shout “Dude, hold my beer.”


And the rest of the country has been busy as well,

With new wage-theft laws or fluctuating workweek’s death knell.

So many decisions, sometimes it’s hard to keep track.

The 80/20 rule gets killed, but a court brings it back.

Class claims need more rigor and can’t be based in fiction.

Certification requires personal jurisdiction.

An arbitration agreement may block your class notice.

And you just might owe OT on some other guy’s bonus.

We’ve seen that on demand pay can be tricky, indeed.

And it turns out you have to pay folks who grow weed.

A day rate is a salary, is what the Fifth Circuit has proffered.

Settlement approval’s not needed if a judgment is offered.


Though the law keeps on changing, our team will keep you updated.

Some developments hurt, others will make you elated.

And as the wage-hour world keeps spinning at this decade’s end

Happy New Year to you, our wage-hour friends!!!