Today’s News & Commentary — November 28, 2017
Employees of online retailers that are acquired by Walmart face significantly increased premiums for company-sponsored health coverage. As the New York Times reports, the health benefits Walmart provides to the employees of its online retail operations is inferior to those offered by its e-commerce competitors. Some worry that as Walmart expands into the e-commerce space, it could put negative pressure on the benefits offered in the e-commerce industry.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied cert. in Provident Savings Bank v. McKeen-Chaplin—a case in which the 9th Cir. Court of Appeals held that underwriters are not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements. Provident Savings Bank, which argued that mortgage underwriters are exempt from overtime requirements because they are “administrative employees” under FLSA, sought to resolve a circuit split on the issue (9th Cir. and 2nd Cir. have held that FLSA’s overtime requirements apply to mortgage underwriters; 6th Cir. has determined the opposite). Some businesses employ underwriters in jurisdictions on both sides of the split.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the delay of two rules. On Friday, it announced a 90-day delay in the implementation of an Obama-era rule that modified the claims procedure requirements for employer-sponsored disability benefits. The rule, among other things, requires that claim denial notices include a full explanation of the denial decision. Yesterday, the Labor Department announced an 18-month delay for certain elements of its retirement rule. One element requires brokers to ask clients if they feel that accounts that charge commissions are in their best interest. Some worry that the delay foreshadows that key portions of the rule will be eliminated.
The New York Times reports that President Donald Trump paid over $1M in a labor settlement stemming from President Trump’s employment of 200 undocumented Polish construction workers who worked 12-hour shifts without proper safety equipment. After years of litigation, President Trump reached a settlement in 1998. The settlement documents were unsealed last week in response to a 2016 motion by Time Inc.