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New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

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FLSA & Categorization of Employees; Faculty & Staff

Department of Labor Publishes Fact Sheet #17S on Higher Education Institutions and Overtime Pay Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (Apr. 12, 2018)

Publication of Fact Sheet #17S by the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division on the Applicability of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Higher Education Institutions. Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA creates an exception to the FLSA’s minimum wage requirement and overtime pay requirement for employees with bona fide executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales duties. The Fact Sheet provides guidelines on common higher education jobs that may qualify for this exemption, such as teachers, coaches, professional employees, administrative employees, executive employees, and student-employees. Of particular note, the Fact Sheet addresses the teaching exemption in the context of online teachers and extension agents, acknowledging that this classification of employees may qualify for the exemption.  The Fact Sheet also discusses how a public college or university  that qualifies as a “public agency” under the FLSA may compensate non-exempt employees with compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.

4/12/2018
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FLSA & Categorization of Employees; Government Relations; Authorizations & Regulations

Department of Labor Reissues Opinion Letter on Athletic Team Coaches at Public Schools under the Fair Labor Standards Act (Jan. 5, 2018)

Reissuance by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of Opinion Letter FLSA2018-6, entitled “Coaches and the Teacher Exemption under Section 13(a)(1),” which provides that coaches may qualify for a section 13(a)(1) teacher exemption if their primary duty is teaching and imparting knowledge to students in an educational establishment. The Opinion Letter is an official statement of WHD Policy and is an official ruling of the agency as it relates to the specific circumstances presented by the requestor’s inquiry. 

1/22/2018
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FLSA & Categorization of Employees; Faculty & Staff

U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet #71 on “Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” (January, 2018)

On January 5, the Department of Labor announced via press release that it would adopt the 7-factor “primary beneficiary test” in ascertaining whether a student intern must be classified and compensated as an “employee” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The Department’s Fact Sheet #71 on “Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” outlines relevant factors under the primary beneficiaries test, including the parties’ expectations or promises of compensation, whether the internship provides training similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, and the duration of the internship, among other things.

1/11/2018
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FLSA & Categorization of Employees; Faculty & Staff

State of Nevada v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor (E.D. Tex. August 31, 2017)

Memorandum Opinion and Order issued by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, invalidating a Department of Labor (DOL) regulation that would have increased the salary threshold for employees eligible for overtime pay. The State of Nevada and twenty other states filed suit challenging the Department of Labor’s authority to issue FLSA regulations that would have raised the annual salary threshold for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. Applying Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council, the court found that the regulations did not give effect to Congress’ unambiguous intent of qualitatively defining “bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity duties.” The court noted that management-level workers would have fallen within the proposed overtime threshold even though “Congress intended for employees who perform ‘bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity’ duties to be exempt from overtime pay.” The court found that the Department’s Final Rule was invalid and not entitled to Chevron deference because the regulations make salary determinative of the overtime exemption, rather than job duties, as intended by Congress. 

9/5/2017
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FLSA & Categorization of Employees; Faculty & Staff

Request for Information by the Department of Labor on the Fair Labor Standards Act’s Minimum Wage and Overtime Requirements (July 26, 2017)

Request for Information issued by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division on the regulatory exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime requirements, commonly known as the “white collar” exemptions. These exemptions exclude from minimum wage and overtime protection regulations “employee[s] employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity,” as defined by three tests. The Obama administration issued a Final Rule in 2016 that raised the salary threshold required for an employee to qualify for the exemption, but a district court enjoined the Department from implementing the Rule before it went into effect. In response to concerns raised about the new salary level, the Department is inviting the public to comment on the 2016 revisions to aid in its formulation of a new proposal. Interested parties may submit comments on or before September 25, 2017.

8/1/2017
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