Stemming the Onslaught of Wage & Hour Actions: Understanding the Legal Environment and the Use of Arbitration Agreements With Class Action Waivers to Limit Liability

(958 Ratings)

Produced on: April 14, 2016

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 91 minutes
Difficulty Advanced

More than 8,900 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits were filed in the federal courts last year. That’s an 11% increase from 2014. The number of FLSA actions filed in federal courts has increased approximately 450% in the past 15 years. Almost all are filed as collective actions and some also have state class claims under Rule 23.


This course, presented by Gregory V. Mersol and John B. Lewis of Baker Hostetler, LLP covers the current wage and hour enforcement environment. This includes white-collar exemptions, the duties test, problems with independent contractors, the DOL’s Guidance on the joint employer standard, problems resulting from the virtual workplace and “off-the-clock work." The presentation then turns to FLSA collective action strategy and ways to favorably resolve such actions. Finally, Mr. Mersol and Mr. Lewis consider the use of arbitration agreements with class and collective action waivers as a means to manage future wage and hour claims.


This segment not only analyzes the requirements of the FAA and state contract law but also challenges to waivers coming from the National Labor Relations Board and from state statutes.


Learning Objectives:

I.     Understand the current wage and hour enforcement environment

II.    Grasp current wage and hour pitfalls, including exemptions, independent contractor misclassification, joint employer liability and problems of the virtual workplace

III.   Consider the potential impact of proposed Department of Labor rulemaking focusing on increasing the salary and compensation levels needed for employees to be exempt

IV.   Comprehend the basic principles of the Federal Arbitration Act and related U.S. Supreme Court authority

V.    Analyze the federal and state requirements necessary for an enforceable class, collective and representative action waiver in an arbitration agreement


John Lewis


John Lewis concentrates his practice on the resolution of complex employment, labor and regulatory disputes, including the defense and oversight of class action litigation. The majority of John’s time is devoted to litigation, appellate practice and alternative dispute resolution procedures involving federal and state anti-discrimination, wage and hour and fair housing laws, the Railway Labor Act, the Civil Rights Acts, the Federal Reserve Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and wrongful discharge, individual employment contract, trade secret, non-competition and work-related tort claims. He has participated in more than 80 cases before federal and state appellate courts. John has also defended insurance companies and retailers against claims that their policies and practices discriminate against minority customers or have an unlawful disparate impact on them.


Highly regarded in his field, John is an elected member of The American Law Institute and a Fellow of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers. He is listed in Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America®, Who's Who in America, and Who's Who in American Law, and was named one of the "Nation’s Most Powerful Attorneys – Top 100" by Human Resource Executive Magazine. John regularly contributes to BakerHostetler's Employment Class Action blog and is a frequent speaker and author on employment and anti-discrimination law topics. He is also the author of the Employment Practice Self-Assessment Guide, Fourth Edition, published by Aegis Insurance Services, Inc.



  • Lead defense counsel in action alleging disability discrimination, breach of contract and breach of duty of fair representation claims under the Railway Labor Act. Prevailed at the District Court and Sixth Circuit levels.
  • Member of team that persuaded the Ohio Supreme Court to adopt the federal standards for class certification under Ohio Rule 23.
  • Successfully defended multi-party arbitral award involving seniority issues, resulting in published Sixth Circuit opinion outlining the applicable deferential standard of review.
  • Secured defense verdict in action brought by the EEOC alleging that railroad discriminated against minority employee in granting leniency reinstatement.
  • Presented oral argument in case before state appellate court where the judges found insufficient allegations of injury in putative class action.
  • Successfully defended wage and hour action by enforcing the class action waiver in a mandatory arbitration agreement.
  • Represented telecommunications company before Sixth Circuit, persuading the panel that an alleged past act of discrimination impacting a seniority system was not actionable.



  • Chambers USA: Labor & Employment in Ohio
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (1995 to present)
  • Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC
  • Cleveland: Employment Law – Management
  • Cleveland: Labor Law – Management
  • Cleveland: Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Who's Who in America (1994 to 2012)
  • Who's Who in American Law (2002 to 2012)
  • Human Resources Executive Magazine "Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys – Top 100"
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Ohio "Super Lawyer" (2004 to 2013)



  • American Law Institute: Elected Member
  • College of Labor & Employment Lawyers: Fellow
  • William K. Thomas Inn of Court: Master Bencher
  • American Bar Association
  • Section of Labor & Employment Law
  • Committee on Equal Employment and Opportunity Law
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Labor and Employment Law Section



  • 4/2/2013 - Common and Predominating Damages: Comcast Opinion Extends Wal-Mart v. Dukes' Standards for Class Certification but Leaves the Question of Daubert for Another Day
  • 3/26/2013 - U.S. Supreme Court Opens the Door Wider for Defendants to Remove Class Actions to Federal Court in Standard Fire Insurance v. Knowles



  • LL.M., Columbia University, 1978
  • J.D., University of Missouri School of Law, 1972
  • B.A., University of Missouri, 1969

Gregory V. Mersol


Greg Mersol focuses on the resolution of class action and other complex employment disputes. He defends class action litigation on a wide variety of issues across the country. He is a frequent speaker and writer on issues involving class actions and the defense of class action disputes. He has been certified as an employment law specialist by the Ohio State Bar Association and has been designated a Master Bencher by the Cleveland Employment Inn of Court. In 2013, he was named by U.S. News & World Report as the "Lawyer of the Year" in Cleveland Employment Law, representing employers. Greg has been described by Chambers & Partners as a "brilliant trial lawyer" and praised for his "total unflappability" in high exposure cases.


Greg is a frequent speaker and writer on a wide range of employment topics and litigation. His recent presentations have included discussions on electronic discovery, employment class actions, employer defense strategy, and Internet use by employees. His writings include articles on class action litigation and related ethical issues, electronic discovery, and a book chapter on affirmative defenses in employment actions. In addition, Greg serves as the editor and a contributor for BakerHostetler’s Employment Class Action Blog, providing commentary on developments in employment class actions and litigation trends impacting employers.


Select Experience

  • Greg has defended employers in class actions in state and federal courts on topics that include wage and hour disputes; independent contractor classification issues; race, sex, and age discrimination; public accommodations; constitutional claims; and employee benefits.
  • Has consulted extensively with employers on electronic discovery and retention issues, evaluation of electronic document retention protocols, retrieval of electronic data, document holds and the use, preservation, and production of electronic data in litigation.
  • Has assisted employers in termination and restructuring efforts, including preparation and coordination of separation pay plans, severance agreements, WARN Act compliance and related issues.


Tom G.

Great information and delivery. Very useful for advising clients.

Anne W.

Excellent presentation and interesting material.

Malcolm D.

This helps because you never know what the standards are in arbitration.

Evan S.

Terrific material

Julie F.

This was excellent. Lot's of good info on application of the FLSA is general. Definitely going to print off the materials and rewatch this video again!

Nathaniel F.

Excellent presentation.

Thomas L.

Two knowledgeable attorneys with up-to-date information; great written outline as well!

Stephanie G.

Now this was a CLE presentation. My fourth in less than 12 hours and by far the most comprehensive and informational.

Robert M.

Good info

Aaron L.

One of the best and most comprehensive CLEs I have done on law line. Excellent course and good coverage of the material.

Michael P.

Very thorough and informative.

Heather B.

Informative overview of the dynamic issues faced by companies in this brave new world

William B.

Program and speakers were outstanding.

Lyn C.

Very well organized, especially the FLSA section. Appreciated that the presenters took a national perspective and mentioned ways that CA law is different.

Geralyn C.

Excellent information. Thank you.

Sheryl B.

Extremely informative and well done.

Kenneth C.

Two excellent speakers, with good voice modulation, who knew their subject well.

Loretta G.

very meaty topic, and very current case law discussed

Monika S.


Mary Beth k.

The presenters were phenomenal

alissa c.

very good

Deborah W.

I have an interest in the subject matter and found the program to be very informative.

David W.


Jimmy M.

Very informative and useful

Lawrence P.


Rhonda G. W.

Thank you for an excellent program -- thorough and clear.

Tamber R.

Very thorough discussion and slides. Thank you.

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$ 89 Business, Corporate, & Securities Law, Labor & Employment Law, and Class Actions In Stock


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