June 2022 | A Critical Legal Compliance Update on Retirement Plans, presented by Managing Partner Anne Tyler Hall and Lead ERISA Counsel Phil Koehler

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Mercedes-Benz USA Employee Drops OT Pay Violation Suit Stemming from Kronos Hack

A Mercedes-Benz USA LLP veteran employee has dismissed his proposed class action lawsuit against his employer without prejudice. James Click, who has worked for Mercedes-Benz since 1996, filed suit against the company for failing to pay workers overtime pay after its Kronos payroll system fell victim to a ransomware attack in December 2021. Click gave no indication why he was dismissing his claims in his notice of Read More

Judge Partially Dismisses GA Chicken Plant’s $2M Claims Against Insurer

A Georgia federal district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of an insurer for a Georgia chicken processing plant where six workers died due to a liquid nitrogen leak. The case is Foundation Food Group Inc. et al. v. Selective Way Insurance Co., case number 2:21-cv-00207, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The court ruled that the plant owners, Foundation Food Group Inc., and Read More

Federal Court Permits Ex-Fire Chief’s Whistleblower Claims to Move Forward against GA City

A federal district court judge will allow a former fire chief to pursue wrongful termination claims against a Georgia city. The claims allege that the city violated the former employee’s First Amendment rights and state whistleblower laws. The judge dismissed various other claims pursuant to the city’s motion to dismiss. The case is Owens v. Propes et al., case number 3:21-cv-00084, U.S. District Court for the Middle Read More

Same-Sex Couple Files EEOC Charge Against NYC Over Denial of IVF Benefits

A same-sex male couple recently filed a class discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the city of New York for refusing in vitro fertilization (IVF) benefits offered to other city workers. The couple alleges that the city violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and state and local civil rights laws when it denied these benefits to Corey Briskin, a former city Read More

CA Appellate Court Rejects Uber’s Arbitration Agreement for PAGA Claims

A California appellate court has upheld the decision of a trial court to deny Uber’s petition to compel arbitration in a case involving the worker misclassification of a former Uber Eats driver. According to the court, an agreement that the driver signed waiving the right to bring a claim under California's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), is unenforceable, since such claims belong to the state, not to the Read More

Maryland Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto of Paid Leave Program

Maryland has become the tenth state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to enact a paid family and medical leave insurance program. The Maryland Department of Labor must establish regulations for implementing the Time to Care Act of 2022, no later than June 1, 2023. After the state legislature passed the bill to create this program, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed it. The state legislature voted to override Read More

Court Vacates DOL’s Withdrawal of FLSA Independent Contractor Regulations

A federal district court has vacated the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) withdrawal of regulations outlining when a worker is an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In Coalition for Workforce Innovation v. Walsh, No. 1:21-cv-00130-MAC (E.D. Tex. Mar. 14, 2022), the court concluded that the DOL’s initial delay and later withdrawal of the regulations did not meet federal administrative Read More

Brokerage Window Fiduciary Duties in Light of DOL Cryptocurrency Guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a warning about its intention to launch an investigative program into those plans that offer cryptocurrency and related products as investment options. The DOL’s investigative program would include those products offered through brokerage windows, implying that plan fiduciaries might be responsible for those investments. Therefore, plan fiduciaries need to carefully Read More

Sixth Circuit Rules Derivative ERISA Claims Not Arbitrable Without Plan Consent

On April 22, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued its decision in Hawkins v. Cintas Corporation, No. 21-3156, holding that ERISA claims for breach of fiduciary duty belong to the plan. As a result, plan members alleging harm to their individual retirement accounts in defined contribution plans, cannot be forced to arbitrate their claims without the plan's consent.  Former employees filed Read More