Sometimes all you need to navigate the legal landscape is a little information. Our blogs and articles touch on a wide spectrum of legal matters that can pop up in both business and everyday life, and we hope they’ll shed a little light wherever you happen to need it.

Navigating the DOL’s New Overtime Rule: What Employers Need to Know

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently updated the Overtime Rule, bringing significant changes to the salary threshold for overtime exemptions. As of July 1, 2024, the threshold will increase to $844 per week, with a further increase to $1,128 per week on January 1, 2025. These changes will have wide-ranging implications for employers across the country. In this blog post, we’ll explore the historical context, financial and administrative impacts, and essential strategies for ensuring compliance with the new rule.

Historical Context and Rationale

The salary threshold for exemption has eroded over time, falling to $455 per week-currently less than the poverty threshold for a family of four. This has resulted in millions of workers working long hours without fair compensation. Between 1938 and 1975, the DOL increased the minimum salary required for the executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) exemption from overtime pay to every 5 to 9 years. However, long periods between increases after 1975 have caused the real value of the salary threshold to erode, lessening its effectiveness. 

The January 2025 salary threshold is set at the 35th percentile of earnings for full-time workers in the lowest-wage Census Region (currently the South), while the highly compensated employee (HCE) threshold is tied to the 85th percentile of earnings for full-time salaried workers nationally. Additional increases based on current wage earnings data are set to automatically occur every three years, beginning July 1, 2027.

Financial Impact

One of the most immediate concerns for employers is the financial impact of the new DOL overtime rule. With the new salary threshold increases, many employers will need to adjust their budgets to accommodate higher payroll expenses. For companies with a significant number of employees currently earning below these new thresholds, this could mean substantial increases in labor costs.

Employers will need to decide whether to raise salaries to maintain exempt status or reclassify employees as non-exempt and pay overtime wages. This decision will depend on the nature of the work, the number of hours typically worked, and the financial capacity of the business. Conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis will be crucial to determine the most financially sound approach for your organization.

Administrative Impact

The new rule will require significant changes to payroll and HR practices. Employers will need to update payroll systems to ensure accurate tracking hours worked and proper payment of overtime for newly non-exempt employees. This may involve investing in new timekeeping software or upgrading existing systems. Additionally, HR departments may need to revise job descriptions and employment contracts to reflect changes in employment classification. Training for managers and HR personnel will be necessary to ensure compliance with the new regulations and effectively manage the reclassification process.

The administrative burden can be significant, especially for small business with limited HR resources. However, these changes are essential to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal issues.

Legal Compliance

Adhering to the new regulations is crucial to avoid penalties and potential lawsuits. Non-compliance can result in hefty fines, back pay for unpaid overtime, and legal fees. Additionally, failing to comply with the new rules can damage your company’s reputation and employee morale. Regularly auditing your payroll practices and employee classifications is important to ensure ongoing compliance. 

Consulting with legal experts and HR professionals can provide valuable guidance and help mitigate risks. Remember, staying proactive and informed is key to navigating these regulatory changes successfully.

Practical Considerations

Employers have some flexibility regarding the timing of reclassification. You can wait until January 2025 to reclassify employees if they meet the July, 2024 salary level. Planning for the reclassification process now will ensure a smooth transition. Stay informed about potential legal challenges and enjoinments to the new rule to make the best decision for your organization.

The DOL’s new Overtime Rule presents significant challenges and opportunities for employers. Assessing the financial and administrative impacts and ensuring legal compliance are crucial steps to navigate these changes successfully. By staying proactive and informed, you can make strategic decisions that benefit both your organization and your employees. 

Don’t know where to start? Integrating new legislation into your workflow shouldn’t be overwhelming. The Employment Law group at Wagner, Falconer and Judd stays up-to-date on state and federal laws so our clients can focus on running their businesses. Reach out today to learn how partnering with a firm like WFJ can provided much needed support to your organization’s leadership. 


Intentional Misgendering of Gender Non-Conforming Employee Deemed Sex Discrimination

An employer in the state of Washington recently agreed to pay monetary damages to a former supervisor after managers and other employees intentionally misgendered the supervisor. The supervisor filed an employment discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and alleged that after the supervisor disclosed their gender identity and pronouns to the employer, fellow co-workers repeatedly and intentionally referred to the supervisor with pronouns inconsistent with the supervisor’s gender identity. The EEOC’s investigation found that the supervisor’s co-workers intentionally misgendered the supervisor for over six months, and the employer failed to intervene to stop the sex-based harassment despite receiving complaints about the misgendering.

The EEOC concluded the intentional misgendering violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits the discrimination and harassment based on sex, which includes gender identity, and gender identity encompasses transgender, non-binary, and other gender non-conforming individuals. After the EEOC’s investigation, the employer agreed to pay the supervisor monetary damages, revise its non-discrimination policies, conduct employee training, and provide additional training to managerial-level- employees and other employees involved in investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment. The EEOC emphasized that employers have a duty to intervene when an employee is harassed or discriminated against because of the employee’s gender identity.

The outcome in Washington is an important reminder to employers to be aware that it is illegal for an employee to be discriminated against or harassed based on the employee’s gender identity. This means an employee cannot be fired, demoted, or have any other aspect of employment negatively affected because of the employee’s gender identity. Furthermore, harassing an employee based on gender identity becomes illegal harassment when the harassment is either so pervasive or severe that it creates a hostile work environment.

The recent ruling in Washington is an example of pervasive harassment that created a hostile work environment because the supervisor endured intentional misgendering abuse for over six months. It is important to note that the EEOC’s finding of gender identity harassment was based on intentional misgendering over an extended period of time. Accidentally misgendering an employee, minor teasing, or offhand comments made about an employee’s gender identity, or isolated incidents of intentional misgendering generally do not rise to the level of illegal harassment unless they are so severe that they create a hostile work environment.

Moving forward, employers should review their non-discrimination policies to ensure they clearly inform employees that discrimination and harassment based on gender identity are prohibited. Employers should also consider providing their employees, especially managerial-level employees, with discrimination and harassment prevention training to create a healthy work culture and to equip employees with the tools to prevent and eliminate any discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

The recent case in Washington serves as a crucial reminder for employers to maintain a work environment free from discrimination and harassment based on gender identity. Ensuring compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is not only a legal requirement but also a fundamental step toward fostering an inclusive and respectful workplace. Employers must proactively revise their non-discrimination policies and provide comprehensive training to all employees, particularly managers, to prevent and address any incidents of harassment or discrimination.

WFJ is here to support you in creating a healthy and legally compliant work environment. We offer expert training, advice, and consultation services to help your organization avoid the costly legal consequences of non-compliance with the Title VII. Let us assist you in building a workplace where all employees feel respected and valued. 


Comprehensive Legal Support for Natural Disaster Recovery: Navigating insurance claims, loans, fraud protection, and employment law compliance.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, individuals and businesses face numerous challenges as they strive to rebuild and recover. From navigating complex insurance claims to securing vital small business loans, the road to recovery can be daunting and fraught with potential pitfalls. Additionally, accessing FEMA and other disaster relief funds requires a thorough understanding of eligibility and application processes. To make matters more challenging, the risk of fraud and shoddy construction work increases, making it crucial to have a trusted legal partner by your side. Wagner, Falconer, & Judd is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal support during these trying times, ensuring that you receive the assistance and protection you need to rebuild your life and business with confidence.

Insurance Claims

Maximize your insurance claims with expert legal guidance. After a natural disaster, navigating the complexities of insurance claims can be overwhelming. Wagner, Falconer & Judd is here to ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve. Let us handle the paperwork and negotiations while you focus on rebuilding your life.

Navigate insurance claims with confidence. Don’t let the insurance companies dictate your recovery. With our seasoned legal team by your side, you can rest assured that your claim will be handled professionally and efficiently.

Small Business Loans & Support

Secure small business loans with legal expertise. Rebuilding your business after a disaster is challenging. Wagner, Falconer & Judd specializes in helping businesses get back on their feet. We’ll guide you through the application process, assist you in meeting requirements for approval, ensuring you have the financial support needed to rebuild and thrive.

Lead effectively during a disaster. Additionally, if you are forced to close your doors temporarily, we provide guidance on complying with employment laws, helping you manage your workforce and legal obligations effectively during the recovery period.

FEMA or Special Disaster Relief from Federal and State Governments

Unlock federal and state disaster relief funds. Accessing FEMA and other disaster relief funds can be daunting. Our knowledgeable legal team will help you understand your eligibility and assist you in securing the aid you need to recover and rebuild effectively.

Fraud (What to look out for, how to spot shady contractors or people offering help.)

Protect yourself from disaster-related fraud. Natural disasters can bring out the best in people, but also the worst. WFJ will educate you on how to spot fraudulent schemes and protect yourself from shady contractors and scammers looking to take advantage of your situation.

Stay safe from fraud after a disaster. Don’t fall victim to disaster-related fraud. Proactively reaching out to WFJ before signing a contract with a contractor could save you years of legal headaches. Ensure you only work with legitimate and trustworthy contractors and service providers during your recovery-however, if you find yourself taken advantage of by a disaster vulture, our legal team can help you recover funds, and get work completed.


Contract Review

Ensure quality rebuilds with professional contract review. WFJ offers thorough contract review services to ensure you’re not paying for incomplete or substandard work. Let us safeguard your interests and ensure your reconstruction is done right the first time.

Avoid construction pitfalls with expert contract review. Before signing any contracts for reconstruction, let our experienced legal team review the terms. We’ll help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure your agreements are fair, protecting you from paying for work that was never completed.

Comprehensive Assistance

Comprehensive legal support during disaster recovery. Navigating the aftermath of a disaster involves numerous legal and financial challenges. WFJ provides comprehensive assistance, helping review and write letters to insurance companies, guiding you through FEMA and other disaster relief applications to access vital funds, and educating you on spotting and avoiding fraud. Our experienced construction and employment attorneys are uniquely qualified to be a vital resource and steadfast partner through every step of the recovery process for individuals and businesses alike.


Recovering from a natural disaster is a complex, and often overwhelming process, but you don’t have to face it alone. Trust Wagner, Falconer, & Judd to be your steadfast partner in rebuilding and revitalizing your life and business, providing you with the peace of mind and support you need during these challenging times.

Navigating Common Legal Pitfalls: A Homeowner’s Guide to Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Homeownership is a significant milestone, but it comes with its own set of legal challenges that can create headaches if not properly managed. From title issues to contractor disputes, homeowners must be aware of the potential pitfalls to safeguard their investments and ensure smooth property ownership. Let’s delve into the most common legal issues homeowners face, and learn how an experienced attorney can help address them.

Title Issues

  • Unclear title: Inadequate title searches can lead to discovering liens, easements, or disputes over property boundaries.
  • Boundary Disputes: Issues with neighbors regarding the exact property lines can lead to legal battles.

Homeowners Association Rules

  • Violating HOA Covenants: Failing to adhere to HOA rules can result in fines, liens or legal action.
  • Unpaid HOA Fees: Non-payment of HOA fees can lead to penalties and potential foreclosure.

Zoning Laws and Permits

  • Unpermitted Work: Performing renovations or additions without the proper permits can result in fines and the need to undo the work.
  • Zoning Laws: Using the property in ways not allowed by local zoning laws can lead to enforcement actions.


  • Failure to Disclose: Not disclosing known issues, such as mold, water damage, or structural problems, when selling a home can lead to lawsuits.
  • False Disclosures: Providing inaccurate information about property condition can also lead to legal action from buyers.

Mortgage and Foreclosure Issues

  • Missed Payments: Falling behind on mortgage payments can lead to foreclosure.
  • Predatory Lending: Signing up for a mortgage with unfair terms can result in financial difficulties and legal challenges.

Tenant Issues (for rental properties)

  • Violating Tenant Rights: Not adhering to landlord-tenant laws, such as failing to return security deposits or provide habitable conditions, can result in lawsuits.
  • Eviction Procedures: Improperly handling evictions can lead to legal repercussions.

Environmental Regulations

  • Violation of Environmental Laws: Issues such as improper disposal of hazardous materials or not addressing asbestos or lead paint can lead to fines and legal action.

Property Taxes:

  • Non-Payment of Taxes: Failing to pay property taxes can result in liens and potential loss of the property.
  • Disputes Over Assessments: Challenging property tax assessments without proper legal grounding can lead to prolonged legal battles.

Insurance Issues

  • Insufficient Coverage: Not having adequate insurance can lead to significant out-of-pocket expenses in case of damage or liability.
  • Claim Denials: Disputes with insurance companies over coverage and claims can lead to litigation.

Contractor Disputes

  • Breaching Contracts: Issues with contractors regarding the quality of work, timelines, or payments can lead to legal disputes.
  • Mechanic’s Liens: Contractors or suppliers not paid for work done can place a lien on the property.


Being a homeowner is rewarding but requires diligence and awareness of potential legal issues. By proactively addressing those common challenges, homeowners can protect their property and avoid costly legal battles. Whether it’s ensuring a clear title, adhering to HOA rules, or obtaining the proper permits for renovations, taking the necessary steps to manage these legal matters will lead to a more secure and stress-free homeownership experience. If you encounter any of these issues, consulting with a legal professional can provide the guidance needed to navigate them effectively. Having an attorney in your back pocket can not only help you navigate any of these legal pitfalls, but keep you from encountering them in the first place. Reach out today to learn how.

Know Your Rights: Homeowner’s Legal Guide

As a homeowner, understanding your rights and legal obligations is essential for protecting your investment and ensuring a smooth living experience. From property rights to navigating homeowner association (HOA) disputes and landlord-tenant laws, here’s a brief overview of key topics every homeowner should be aware of:

Property Rights

Your property rights encompass various legal protections that safeguard your ownership and use of your home. These rights include the right to exclusive possession, the right to see or transfer the property, and the right to use the property in a manner consistent with local zoning laws. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with local ordinances and regulations governing property use to avoid potential conflicts with neighbors or local authorities.

HOA Disputes

Many homeowners reside in communities governed by an HOA, which establishes rules and regulations aimed at maintaining property values  and community standards. While HOAs can provide benefits such as community amenities and maintenance services, disputes between homeowners and HOAs can arise over issues such as property maintenance, architectural guidelines, or assessment fees. Understanding your rights within the framework of the HOA’s governing documents and state laws can help you navigate these disputes effectively.

Landlord-Tenant Laws

If you rent out a property you own or are a tenant yourself, it’s essential to understand the legal rights and responsibilities outlined in landlord-tenant laws. These laws govern various aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, including lease agreements, rent payments, eviction procedures, and maintenance responsibilities. Familiarizing yourself with your state’s specific landlord-tenant laws can help protect you from potential disputes and ensure a fair and lawful renting experience.


Knowing your rights as a homeowner (and renter) empowers you to navigate legal challenges confidently and protect your interests. However, legal matters can be complex, and seeking guidance from a qualified real estate attorney can provide invaluable assistance in understanding and asserting your rights effectively. Stay informed and proactive, you can enjoy the benefits of homeownership while minimizing potential legal risks and disputes. The attorneys at Wagner, Falconer & Judd are here to help! Reach out today for a consultation.


Navigating OSHA’s New Rules on Third-Party Representatives in Workplace Inspections

The landscape of workplace safety inspections is evolving, with new regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reshaping the dynamics between employers, employees, and third-party representatives. Effective May 31, 2024, a revised rule grants employees the right to choose a representative, whether an internal colleague or an external third-party, to accompany OSHA inspectors during workplace inspections.

This significant shift is designed to bring clarity and inclusivity to the inspection process. No longer bound by formal credentials, such as safety engineering or industrial hygiene qualifications, third-party representatives can now be selected based on their knowledge, skills or experience relevant to the workplaces’ hazards and operations. The purpose is clear: to facilitate effective and thorough inspections that prioritize safety and compliance.

However, with this newfound flexibility comes a need for careful consideration and preparation on the part of employers. Understanding the implications of this rule and how to navigate them is crucial for maintaining compliance and ensuring a smooth inspection process.

Key Points in the Revised Rule:

  • Expanded Representation Options: Employees now have the freedom to choose either an internal colleague or an external third-party as their representative during inspections.
  • Inclusive Representation Criteria: Third-party representatives are not limited to individuals with formal credentials. Instead, their selection is based on their ability to contribute positively to the inspection through their knowledge, skills or experience.
  • Compliance Officer’s Discretion: The Compliance Safety and Health Officer retains ultimate authority to determine whether a third-party representative is reasonably necessary for an effective inspection. This decision hinges on the representative’s potential contribution to the process.

Employer Response and Preparation

In anticipation of these changes, employers must revisit their policies and procedures related to OSHA inspections. This includes:

Analyzing Good Cause: Employers should be prepared to assess whether there is a legitimate argument against the presence of a third-party representative and articulate objections to the compliance officer.

Monitoring Representative Activities: Employers must ensure that third-party representatives adhere to the scope and purpose of their presence, preventing any behaviors that could disrupt or interfere with the inspection process.

Ensuring Transparency: Employers can promote transparency by staying informed about the selection process for third party representatives, potentially through active involvement in safety committees.

Addressing Union Concerns

While unions may view this rule change as an opportunity to increase organizing activities, it’s crucial to emphasize that the presence of third-party representatives is strictly for aiding in inspections. Compliance officers retain the authority to exclude individuals whose conduct disrupts the process.

OSHA’s revised rule on third-party representation in workplace inspections represents a significant step towards inclusivity and effectiveness. By empowering employees to choose representatives based on their expertise, the aim is to enhance safety and compliance standards. However, employers must be proactive in understanding and implementing these changes to ensure a smooth inspection process while maintaining a focus on workplace safety and compliance.

As employers adapt to to these changes, it’s essential to see guidance and expertise to ensure compliance while maintaining a safe working environment. If you find yourself grappling with updated regulations or need assistance in developing effective policies and procedures, we’re here to help.

DOL Raises Salary Compensation Threshold-What it Means for Employers?

On April 23, 2024, the U.S Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Final Rule raising the minimum salary thresholds for exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Exempt employees are (quite literally) exempt from the minimum wage, overtime, and time reporting provisions of the FLSA, allowing employers to pay these employees a weekly salary regardless of actual hours worked. The DOL sets the minimum threshold for compensation, and the positions must meet certain duties tests to be considered exempt. The Final Rule affects employees under the White Collar Exemption (executive, administrative, or professional) and Highly Compensated Employees’ Exemption.

Now and until July 1, 2024, employees occupying white collar exempt positions must be compensated at a rate of at least $684 per week ( about $35,568 per year). Similarly, employees in highly compensated positions must be compensated at a rate of at least $107,432 to qualify for the exemption.

The DOL, in its Final Rule, drastically raised these thresholds. But, potentially to soften the blow on the employers, the DOL is implementing the salary threshold increase in a two-part approach:

  • First, effective on July 1, 2024, the salary level threshold for exempt employees will increase to a minimum of $844 per week (about $43,888 per year), and to $132, 964 per year for highly compensated employees.
  • Then, starting on January 1, 2025, the threshold is set to increase to at least $1,128 per week (about $58,656 per year) for exempt employees and $151, 164 per year for highly compensated employees.

The Department of Labor plans on updating salary thresholds every three years beginning July, 1, 2027.

What Should Employers Do Now?

The Final Rule has already not been well received by some, and is expected to be challenged-which could delay implementation. Nevertheless, employers should proceed with caution and, despite the potential delay in the implementation, start preparing and budgeting for the changes.

  • Employers could either prepare to increase employees’ salaries in a two-part approach, as the DOL suggests, first on July 1, 2024, and then again on January 1, 2025.
  • Employers could also increase the salary threshold to January 1, 2025 levels on July 1, 2024.
  • Employers can always convert the employees to the nonexempt status should the new thresholds be too burdensome.

As always, when it comes to exempt employees’ classification and compensation, employers should always seek experienced legal counsel. Our attorneys at Wagner, Falconer & Judd are always available to answer any of your questions.