In most instances, analyses in personal injury cases are a necessity.  Personal Injury cases require an expert to value the loss of earnings, ability, or life of an individual.  In addition, experts can also calculate the loss of household services the individual’s household has suffered, that is the daily services someone would provide their children or spouse living in the home.  

To begin performing an economic analysis of the loss of earnings of the injured, there is one crucial step that many attorneys try to sidestep: Hiring a vocational expert.  Very few economic experts performing these types of analyses will make a judgement regarding the Plaintiff’s ability to work, and those experts that will, are not the ones an attorney wants to hire.  Sure, doing this will save money, but if an attorney wants to cross all their T’s and dot all their I’s, he or she will need to hire a vocational expert.  After crossing this bridge, the analysis should be smooth sailing.

Many attorneys ask economic experts to also analyze the Plaintiff’s loss of household services.  In most personal injury cases, the Plaintiff has a reduced, or complete loss of, ability to perform tasks such as inside housework, cooking, shopping, and caring for household children.  A major question in determining a loss of household services is, who was the Plaintiff providing household services to?  Frequently, experts will provide this analysis knowing that the Plaintiff lives alone.  Widely accepted economic theories and methodologies state that in order to provide household services to someone, they must be providing those services to someone.  Often, those persons receiving these services would be children living in the household or a spouse.  However, it is inappropriate to assign household services to someone who lives alone.  It is important for attorneys, representing the Plaintiff or Defense, to keep this in mind as it can drastically affect the reliability of an expert’s analysis and be a major point of contention in a rebuttal report.  

In determining if a Plaintiff made extensive efforts in their job search following their alleged wrongful termination, economic experts should look into several key factors.  Lawyer’s should be very familiar with these factors in order to best represent their client, whether Plaintiff or Defense.

  1. How many jobs has your client applied to and are they similar to the position they were terminated from?  A major point of attack experts should address in their reports will examine if the Plaintiff has performed a sufficiently diligent replacement job search. In Texas, individuals are granted unemployment benefits provided they apply for a minimum of three jobs per week.  This number can be used as the threshold for determining if a Plaintiff has done his or her due diligence in finding replacement employment after the alleged wrongful termination.
  2. How long has the Plaintiff been unemployed?  Widely accepted labor market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can be utilized to determine the average range an individual with a similar job position, in the same job market, would expect to be unemployed.  If the Plaintiff has been unable to find replacement employment within the typical unemployment duration, it is not likely they have performed a sufficient job search.
  3. How many job openings were available in the Plaintiff’s job market at the time of their termination?  Again, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can be utilized to determine job openings per month that the Plaintiff would have been qualified to hold.  In many cases, there are a significant number of job openings in the area the Plaintiff is searching.  Occasionally, a Plaintiff’s job search records will reveal that they have applied to jobs in multiple job markets, sometimes spanning across several states.  To a defense attorney requesting a mitigation analysis, this is music to their ears.  The more markets a Plaintiff makes themselves available to, the more markets experts can include when determining a number of job openings.  This only increases the number of jobs the Plaintiff could have held had they performed a sufficient job search and strengthens the argument that they have not performed such as search.

Employment lawsuits involving wage and hour disputes can get very messy, very fast.  However, it is critical to determine if the data and the case will require an outside expert early on in the lawsuit.  The more hands and the more opinions on how to produce the result that is desired can only lead to more confusion.  Finding an expert that will know exactly how to work with your data and has a clear objective for finding the answer to your question will save attorneys and clients time, money, and frustration.

A majority of wage and hour disputes consulting firms encounter involve lost meal or rest breaks, time clock rounding, misclassification, or unpaid overtime.  Each of these types of disputes are different, however they all rely on the same type of data, time punch records and payroll records.  Without proper records of the employees, there can be no analysis.  Depending on the company involved and the nature of the case, these records can expand into the tens of millions of observations.  Experts will have the resources and statistical tools to compute large sets of data and export information that will reveal the severity or lack of severity, of the claims.

Essentially, if you find yourself diving in deep and losing yourself, as well as losing your question, in the data, call an expert.

Conducted every ten years, the Census is the largest survey in the United States. The 2010 Census represented the most massive participation movement ever witnessed in the US, with approximately 74% of households returning their census by mail. The Census Bureau hired about 635,000 employees to walk through neighborhoods throughout the United States to count the remaining households.

The 100% characteristics form was used with every person and housing unit in the United States. It includes information on sex, age, and race by geographic location. Census data is available at many geographic levels, including blocks, zip codes, county, and state.

The 2010 Census asked detailed questions that include information on educational attainment, marital status, labor-force status, and income. The Census is a very large database and hence has many uses ranging from racial profiling in police-stop baselines to wage data.

For more information, please go to www.census.gov/

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of approximately 50,000 households conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the U.S. Census Bureau. The CPS collects a vast amount of data and is an excellent resource for information on labor-force characteristics.

The basic monthly CPS provides general demographic information as well as employment status, industry, and occupation. The monthly survey is often used to examine unemployment rates and the duration of unemployment. The BLS publishes tables reporting the unemployment rate and the average and median duration of unemployment by gender and age, race, or marital status. These tables are generally referenced in wrongful termination cases to show the expected length of time it will take the plaintiff to find a new job.

In addition to the basic monthly survey, the CPS includes monthly supplements. These supplements include displaced workers, job tenure, and mobility, and a demographic supplement (often referred to as the March supplement), just to name a few.

The job tenure supplement can be used to estimate the amount of time an individual would have likely remained at a job if the termination had not occurred. The demographic supplement is often used to determine average and median wages for particular education levels. Additionally, regression analysis can be used to estimate lifecycle earnings for individuals based on their age or years of experience, education, and other pertinent demographic factors.

For more information, please go to www.bls.gov/cps/

In this post, we look at the weekly overtime (OT) hours typically worked by those who work in Derrick, rotary drill, and services unit operators, oil, gas, and mining occupations.

Many of the employees that work in these jobs are not exempt from FLSA overtime pay and earn 1.5 times pay for hours worked over 40 in a given week.

The tabulations below are based on U.S. BLS survey data. The BLS job title groups are insightful, generally containing more specific job titles with similar knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA), but can be more broad than a particular company’s job title listing. Also, some companies may have the job title listed here as exempt from FLSA or state OT due to their specific job assignments. The BLS does not make a distinction as to if the job title is exempt or non-exempt from OT.

Occupational Group Title Percent of OT Workers Average Hours of OT 1 Out of Every 4 (25%) OT Workers Works at Least
Derrick, rotary drill, and services unit operators, oil, gas, and mining 66.67% 25.6 80

U.S. BLS data indicates that approximately 66.67% of Derrick, rotary drill, and services unit operators, oil, gas, and mining workers work overtime hours in a given week.  On average, these workers that have FLSA overtime work approximately 25.6 hours a week in OT. The average regular or straight time pay rate of these workers in the U.S. is approximately 32.10 an hour.  The average FLSA OT rate, not including supplemental pay such as non-discretionary bonus pay is 48.14 an hour.

Source: BLS (CPS March)

In this post, we look at the weekly overtime (OT) hours typically worked by those who work in roofing occupations.

Many of the employees that work in these jobs are not exempt from FLSA overtime pay and earn 1.5 times pay for hours worked over 40 in a given week.

The tabulations below are based on U.S. BLS survey data. The BLS job title groups are insightful, generally containing more specific job titles with similar knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA), but can be more broad than a particular company’s job title listing. Also, some companies may have the job title listed here as exempt from FLSA or state OT due to their specific job assignments. The BLS does not make a distinction as to if the job title is exempt or non-exempt from OT.

Occupational Group Title Percent of OT Workers Average Hours of OT 1 Out of Every 4 (25%) OT Workers Works at Least
Roofers 23.64% 13.3 hours 50 hours

U.S. BLS data indicates that approximately 23.64% of roofers work overtime hours in a given week.  On average, these workers that have FLSA overtime work approximately 13.3 hours a week in OT. The average regular or straight time pay rate of these workers in the U.S. is approximately 15.23 an hour.  The average FLSA OT rate, not including supplemental pay such as non-discretionary bonus pay is 22.84 an hour.

Source: BLS (CPS March)

In this post, we look at the weekly overtime (OT) hours typically worked by those who work in automotive body and related repair occupations.

Many of the employees that work in these jobs are not exempt from FLSA overtime pay and earn 1.5 times pay for hours worked over 40 in a given week.

The tabulations below are based on U.S. BLS survey data. The BLS job title groups are insightful, generally containing more specific job titles with similar knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA), but can be more broad than a particular company’s job title listing. Also, some companies may have the job title listed here as exempt from FLSA or state OT due to their specific job assignments. The BLS does not make a distinction as to if the job title is exempt or non-exempt from OT.

Occupational Group Title Percent of OT Workers Average Hours of OT 1 out of every 4 (25%) OT workers works at least
Automotive Body and Related Repairers 26.92% 13.3 hours 60 hours

U.S. BLS data inddicates that approximately 26.92% of automotive body and related repairers work overtime hours in a given week.  On average, these workers that have FLSA overtime work approximately 13.3 hours a week in OT. The average regular or straight time pay rate of theise workers in the U.S. is approximately 18.77 an hour.  The average FLSA OT rate, not including supplemental pay such as non-discretionary bonus pay is 28.16 an hour.

Source: BLS (CPS March)

In this post, we look at the weekly overtime (OT) hours typically worked by those who work in grounds maintenance occupations.

Many of the employees that work in these jobs are not exempt from FLSA overtime pay and earn 1.5 times pay for hours worked over 40 in a given week.

The tabulations below are based on U.S. BLS survey data. The BLS job title groups are insightful, generally containing more specific job titles with similar knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA), but can be more broad than a particular company’s job title listing. Also, some companies may have the job title listed here as exempt from FLSA or state OT due to their specific job assignments. The BLS does not make a distinction as to if the job title is exempt or non-exempt from OT.

Occupational Group Title Percent of OT Workers Average Hours of OT 1 out of every 4 (25%) OT workers works at least:
Grounds Maintenance Workers 15.85% 11.2 hours 53.5 hours

U.S. BLS data inddicates that approximately 15.85% of grounds maintenance workers work overtime hours in a given week.  On average, these workers that have FLSA overtime work approximately 11.2 hours a week in OT. The average regular or straight time pay rate of theise workers in the U.S. is approximately 11.90 an hour.  The average FLSA OT rate, not including supplemental pay such as non-discretionary bonus pay is 16.35 an hour.

Source: BLS (CPS March)

In this post, we look at the weekly overtime (OT) hours typically worked by those who work in Truck Transportation.

Many of the employees that work in these jobs are not exempt from FLSA overtime pay and earn 1.5 times pay for hours worked over 40 in a given week.

The tabulations below are based on U.S. BLS survey data. The BLS job title groups are insightful, generally containing more specific job titles with similar knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA), but can be more broad than a particular company’s job title listing. Also, some companies may have the job title listed here as exempt from FLSA or state OT due to their specific job assignments. The BLS does not make a distinction as to if the job title is exempt or non-exempt from OT.

Occupational Group Title Percent of OT Workers Average Hours of OT 1 out of every 4 (25%) OT workers works at least:
Truck Transportation 47.28% 15 hours 60 hours

Source: BLS (CPS March)