that fall into one of the federal government’s job exemption categories—like
a “white-collar exemption” for executives, professionals and administrators.
Workers who don’t meet these criteria
will be considered nonexempt hourly
workers who get overtime benefits
promised to them by the FLSA.
Howard Wexler, an associate in Sey-
farth Shaw’s labor and employment
group, explains that the issue of who is
covered by the FLSA and who isn’t has
continued to spur plenty of lawsuits
from those who feel they’ve been classi-
fied incorrectly. “Exempt status is a hotly
contested issue in litigation, and now
it’s been brought to the forefront with
the proposed amendments as part of the
new [U.S. Department of Labor] regula-
tions governing who is exempt and not
exempt from overtime,” Wexler says.
In June, the Labor Department
released a proposal to change the FLSA
in a way that may give another 5 mil-
lion American workers nonexempt sta-
tus—and in doing so potentially make
Urban Outfitters’ “volunteer” days less
than legal for parts of the workforce. The
proposed rules would raise the amount
of money employees can make and still
get FLSA overtime coverage from $455
per week, or $23,660 per year, to $970
per week, or $50,440 per year.
And because of the way that the
FLSA is structured, even if an employee
holds a job that passes one of the FLSA’s
primary duties-based exemptions, they
still can’t legally be assigned an exemp-
tion unless they make more than the
new pay threshold. This means that if
and when the new regulations are final-
ized, all kinds of professionals could
qualify for overtime pay—and be dis-
qualified from free weekend work.
WHAT KEEPS CORPORA TE COUNSEL UP A T
night? Cybersecurity and crisis management, judging by the intense focus
on both topics at the annual meeting of
the Association of Corporate Counsel in
Boston in October.
In-house lawyers at companies large
and small, U.S.-based and around the
world, found that they share increasing alarm about potential cybersecurity
threats as criminal hackers rack up data
breaches of one high-profile corporation
after another. They’re also concerned
about handling a crisis at their companies—especially when internal investigators enter the picture. The other
takeaway from the gathering of more
than 3,700 lawyers from 43 countries,
including China, Saudi Arabia, Mexico
and Germany? Think globally.
About a quarter of the sessions provided a global perspective, which “is
increasingly important to all of our members,” said the association’s president
and chief executive, Veta Richardson.
At one popular panel, “A Brave
New World: Cybersecurity and Data
Protection in the Wake of Recent Corp-
orate Attacks,” lawyers learned that
their customers and the public expect
a rapid-fire response to cybersecurity
attacks. Moderator Miriam Wugmeis-
Foerster, cited Target Corp.’s notifica-
tion of 40 million people in four days
after its 2013 data breach. ( Target is a cli-
ent of the firm.) “That’s where the bar
has been set,” Wugmeister said.
The panel also included Korin Neff,
corporate compliance officer at Wyndham Worldwide Corp.; Erez Liebermann, senior regulatory counsel at
Prudential Financial Inc.; and Jeremy
Batterman, an associate director at Nav-igant Consulting.
The panelists urged attendees to
craft agreements with relevant ven-
dors, including forensic firms and
credit monitoring companies, before a
crisis. They explained that waiting until
a crisis would mean negotiating terms
under duress. They also emphasized
the importance of creating agreements
with multiple vendors in case one is too
busy with another company’s cyberat-
tack to help.
“It’s not a huge universe of choices,”
said Neff from Wyndham, “so having
relationships with more than one vendor is pretty important as well.” Pruden-
A DIET OF DISASTERS
Lawyers who attended ACC’s annual meeting got an earful about cyberattacks and GM.