Kansas City MO Trash Workers Entitled to Overtime Compensation

Kansas City FLSA Overtime Law

Workers employed as trash and garbage collectors are commonly subject to violations by waste removal employers of their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and prevailing wage laws. Attorney Kevin J. Dolley represents employees in unpaid overtime and prevailing wage claims nationwide. Mr. Dolley currently represents Kansas City workers in wage and hour litigation, including claims under the FLSA and Missouri law.

Mr. Dolley can be reached directly at (314)645-4100 or by email at kevin@dolleylaw.com. Below is a discussion of a Kansas City, Missouri federal court FLSA court decision. The court's analysis touches upon the question of which employees are considered exempt and non-exempt, an issue that Mr. Dolley regularly reviews with potential clients.

Kansas City Federal District Court

In Graham v. Town & Country Disposal of Western Missouri, Inc., 2010 WL 3927756 (W.D. Mo. October 4, 2010), the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, located in Kansas City, Missouri, examined the employer, Town & Country Disposal of Western Missouri, Inc. ("Town") alleged failure to pay overtime compensation under the FLSA. The Plaintiff employees alleged that the employer engaged in willful violations of the FLSA for refusal to pay overtime compensations for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek.

The workers were classified by the Defendant as salaried employees and the Plaintiffs alleged that they were misclassified and wrongfully not paid overtime at time and a half the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek. Plaintiffs sought an injunction ending the employer's illegal pay practices and lost wages and liquidated damages as compensation.

The Defendant employer filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint alleging that the trash workers failed to establish Defendant was subject to coverage under the FLSA. The employer argued that the Plaintiffs failed to establish subject-matter jurisdiction over Defendant based upon alleged inapplicability of the FLSA to the employer. Defendant argued that trash removal businesses, such as Defendant, were not subject to FLSA enforcement actions.

FLSA Enterprise Coverage

The court noted that the FLSA extends to workers employed in an "enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce." The FLSA presently defines enterprise coverage as "an enterprise that has employees engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, or that has employees handling, selling, or otherwise working on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for commerce by any person." 29 U.S.C. § 203(s) (1976).

The court noted that Defendant failed to cite to applicable law under the most current definition of enterprise coverage in effect since 1976. The court further pointed out that a case should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction unless it is established that the application of federal law is "immaterial and made solely for the purpose of obtaining jurisdiction or where such a claim is wholly insubstantial and frivolous." See Ali v. Ramsdell, 423 F.3d 810 (8th Cir. 2005) (citing Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic, 506 U.S. 263, 285 (1993).

The court found that the Complaint established a claim under the FLSA and subject matter jurisdiction. The Complaint stated the Plaintiffs' employer, routes which the trash collectors worked in Missouri and Kansas and that such work established that the employer engaged in interstate commerce. Further "determination of 'enterprise coverage' under the FLSA is one that must be resolved on the facts of each case." Donovan v. Weber, 723 F.2d 1388, 1391-92 (8th Cir.1984). Based upon the court's determinations, it denied Defendant's motion to dismiss.

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