NEW YORK — A federal court in New York approved a proposed settlement agreement that will resolve a complaint filed by a group of three temporary attorneys against Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. The suit alleged that the law firm and the staffing company Tower Legal Staffing Inc., through which it hired the plaintiffs, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the settlement agreement, Tower will pay $75,000 to to the three plaintiffs as well as attorneys’ fees. The settlement amount is the maximum amount of compensatory damages they requested and one-third of the liquidated damages they set forth in their complaint .
Document Review Work Not “Practicing Law”
The plaintiffs had alleged that they should not have been exempted from FLSA’s overtime pay requirements because document review work does not constitute the practice of law. The type of work involved did not require any legal knowledge, skill, or training. Therefore, they claimed that they should have been paid time and a half for time worked beyond forty hours a week. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the plaintiffs and held that they were not exempt from FLSA’s requirements.
Under FLSA, bona fide professional employees are exempt from the Act’s overtime and minimum wage provisions. There are two types of exempt professional employees: learned professionals and creative professionals. Learned professionals are defined as those whose primary duty at work involves the performing tasks that require advanced knowledge that is predominantly intellectual in character and requires the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment.
Creative professionals, on the other hand, are those whose primary duties involve invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. This criteria is usually satisfied by actors, musicians, composers, soloists, writers, cartoonists, novelists, etc.
Additionally, FLSA explicitly states that an employee holding a valid license or certificate permitting the practice of law or medicine is exempt if the employee is actually engaged in such a practice. Additionally, employees who hold the requisite degree for the general practice of medicine are also exempt if they are engaged in an internship or residency program for the profession.
Employers are generally required to pay employees minimum wage and overtime unless a specific exemption applies. These exemptions have distinct requirements that must be met in order to apply. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you or a loved one has been classified as exempt even though your duties show otherwise. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.