The question: Do the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") - the law established by Congress in 1938 that provides for a minimum wage and a maximum 40-hour work week for workers employed in businesses engaged in interstate commerce- extend to employees working in jobs that are regulated by the Secretary of Transportation?
The answer: No. That is the recent response of a federal appellate court judge in New Orleans in a case involving truckers' claims for unpaid overtime wages.
The Texas-based truckers filed a class-action lawsuit against Dillon Resources Inc. and the Sunset companies, alleged that the former - a staff resourcing company - violated federal law by requiring them to work unpaid overtime while they were hauling supplies to and from mines owned by Sunset. Specifically, the truckers alleged that, because they were penalized for not completing deliveries on time, they worked overtime without pay to get the job done.
Judge Carl Stewart disagreed and dismissed the case, stating that an exemption to the overtime-pay requirement exists for carriers that work across state lines. The truckers argued that the exemption should not apply to Dillon because many of their hauls were local. Stewart found this argument unpersuasive, noting that "any driver could have been assigned to an interstate trip." Given that, he stated that the Secretary of Transportation retained jurisdiction over the matter and that Dillon qualified for the exemption.
Employment disputes - and, notably, issues concerning wage claims and unpaid overtime - can be complex and involve both state and federal laws. An experienced employment attorney is well-versed to answer questions and advocate forcefully on behalf of a person involved in a wage dispute with an employer.