The Ninth Circuit decided a matter of first impression on Wednesday, which could make it easier for employers to defeat wage and hour collective actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In Greg Landers v. Quality Communications, Inc., et al., employees argued that QCI (a cable television, phone and Internet service installation company) subjected employees to a “piecework no overtime” wage system, in which workers spent more than 40 hours a week on the job without receiving any overtime. The District Court dismissed the suit, ruling that Mr. Landers’ complaint did not make any factual allegations estimating the actual overtime hours he worked, his hourly wage, or the amount of unpaid overtime wages, and it therefore failed to plead a plausible case for relief, as required under the Supreme Court’s landmark Twombly and Iqbal decisions (which establish current pleading requirements). The Ninth Circuit affirmed, ruling that Mr. Landers failed to state a claim because his complaint did not allege facts showing there was a “specific week in which he was entitled to but denied minimum wages or overtime wages.” In doing so, the Court of Appeals clarified the level of specificity needed to state a claim under the FLSA. This decision could make it easier for employers to defeat wage and hour class actions.
For more information about defending wage and hour actions, please call any BurnsBarton attorney.