A 2006 qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act brought against Sodexo - a large school cafeteria operator -- by two brothers, who were former managers of the company, resulted recently in the company's $20 million settlement with New York state.
The health care field is one segment of the economy that continues to grow impressively, for a multitude of reasons. Health reform is always at or near the top of legislators' agendas, and the reforms recently enacted during the Obama administration have led to workforce adjustments and expansions. A given, too, is the aging American population, with a rapidly increasing baby boomer component now designated "senior" that is beginning to place heavy exactions on hospitals and clinics throughout the country.
A collective bargaining agreement between Kraft Foods Global, Inc., and employees in the company's Madison, Wisconsin, facility who prepare meat products excluded from wage and overtime calculations the time those workers were required to take each day to change in and out of special safety work clothes. That exclusion from wages for time necessarily spent in work activities is permissible under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), so long as negotiated in a bargaining agreement.
A legal immigrant from Venezuela came from Washington, D.C., to a Montgomery County home earlier this year to work as a housekeeper for a Dickerson family. She expected to be paid $350 a week plus transportation enabling her to go home on weekends. What she allegedly got was verbal abuse and restrictions that, according to an immigrant advocacy group, rose to the level of "slave-like conditions."
Saying that St. Jude Medical Inc. "has an obvious interest in protecting its confidential information," and finding that a former senior employee subsequently hired by rival Medtronic Inc. was doing work that directly competes with St. Jude, a Minnesota judge barred the employee from working at Medtronic for the next 11 weeks.
In the modern workplace, coupled with the ever-present effects of the ongoing recession, employees are being asked to do more than formerly. They are tasked to work harder, longer, faster, more efficiently.
In business environments of all types, and across the country, there are increased reports that they are also being asked to do the employer's bidding without pay. This is precisely the allegation made by six government employees in the town of Plano, Texas, who work for the city's utility operations department. They have brought a class action lawsuit against Plano, alleging that the city breached its promise to pay them unpaid overtime and wages for work they have thus far done for free and that it is in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").
After initial and lengthy investigation, the United States declined in December 2009 to intervene in a qui tam whistleblower case brought by a former employee of St. Jude Medical, Inc., a St. Paul-based major manufacturer and supplier of medically implantable devices.
Technology is increasingly leading to a blurring of the distinction between on-duty and off-duty time for many employees in diverse industries across the country. In the "old days," before work could easily sift into an employee's home after hours via cell phone, e-mail and other devices, there was seldom a controversy concerning when a worker's day began and ended.
BP has suffered close scrutiny and withering criticism over the past months concerning its safety policies, clean-up efforts and reimbursement of businesses that have been hurt by the massive Gulf oil spill. It is unlikely that it anticipated facing a backlash of public censure regarding charges that it is seeking to buy scientists' silence by forcing them to sign off on onerous nondisclosure agreements in order to do spill-related research.