On December 30, 2015, a federal court in New York dismissed Plaintiff William Henig's claim against the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP and the legal staffing firm Providus, for overtime wages brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court roundly rejected Plaintiff's claims that he was entitled to overtime wages for the routine review of documents, to determine if the documents fell within a privilege or were relevant, noting that an attorney's review of documents constitutes the practice of law. The judge was not persuaded by Plaintiff's argument that the review of documents required no legal analysis. In reaching her decision, Judge Abrams noted that new attorneys often perform repetitive tasks that are "modest in intellectual scope" and "banal." Nevertheless, the court held this still constitutes the practice of law.
On July 15, 2015, the Administrator for the Department of Labor ("DOL"), issued the "Administrator's Interpretation No. 2015-1" (hereafter "Interpretation") regarding "The Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act's 'Suffer or Permit' Standard in the Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors." The Interpretation provides an overview of the problem of businesses' misclassification of workers as independent contractors1 instead of employees.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision on March 25, 2015, in Keller v Miri Microsystems LLC provides crucial guidance to workers and businesses regarding the misclassification of a worker's status as independent contractor rather than employee.