FLSA - overtime pay - executive employees
Davis v. Mountaire Farms - 3d Circuit - July 20, 2006
Summary judgment for the employer reversed. The lower court had held that plaintiff-employees were exempt employees under sec. 213(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC sec. 213(a)(1), and thus not entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA., 29 USC sec. 201 et seq.
Plaintiffs were "crew leaders" who supervised other employees known as "chicken catchers." They had some supervisory responsibilities but these did not include hiring and firing or making ultimate decisions or actions about things like vacations, holidays, or discipline. Plaintiffs often worked more than 40 hours a week, but the employer refused to pay the overtime, claiming they were exempt executive employees. The crew leaders were hourly employees until 2002, at which time they became salaried, but there was no change in their duties or responsbilities.
The court held that FLSA exemptions are construed against the employer, which has the burden of proof to establish that its employees come within the scope of an overtime exemption.
The employer has to satify all four factors under 29 CFR sec. 541.100(a), the most important one in this case concerned the "authority to hire or fire other employees."
Noting that "the case law on this is is very fact specific and not consistent," and that there were "genuine issues of material fact," the court said that it did "not believe that Mountaire had established its case as a matter of law" and remanded the matter.