I lately wrote a couple of case within the Tenth Circuit, Kenney v. Helix TCS, Inc., the place the Courtroom of Appeals is requested to determine if the Federal Labor Requirements act (FLSA) offers wage and hour safety to workers of hashish companies. That case hasn’t seen a lot motion since I wrote about it, however its choice may have a big impression on a case lately filed in Federal District Courtroom in Oregon.
Michael Garity has filed a state and FLSA wage and hour declare towards his former employer, WRD Investments LLC (“WRD Investments”). In accordance with the grievance, Mr. Garity was employed by WRD Investments to offer experience and labor in assist of WRD Investments’ marijuana develop close to Junction Metropolis, Oregon.
Mr. Garity alleges he was a “non-exempt” worker for WRD Investments. His standing as a non-exempt worker would have required WRD Investments to pay Mr. Garity not less than minimal wage for all hours labored and additional time charges for all hours labored over 40 hours per week. Within the grievance, Mr. Garity alleges that between March 2016 by way of Might 2017 he could have labored roughly 2500 hours with none compensation. He additional alleges that he continuously labored over 40 hours per week with out additional time pay.
Mr. Garity’s complaints don’t cease there. Mr. Garity additionally alleges that WRD Investments failed to offer him with itemized assertion of pay and didn’t establishe common pay days in violation of Oregon legal guidelines. The Grievance additionally states Mr. Garity incurred bills on behalf of WRD Investments equivalent to utilizing his private automobile to conduct WRD Funding enterprise with out reimbursement from WRD Investments.
Mr. Garity’s grievance requests precise damages for unpaid minimal wage and additional time compensation plus an equal quantity as liquidated damages and reimbursement for enterprise associated bills, penalty wages underneath Oregon wage and hour legal guidelines, and lawyer charges and prices. Mr. Garity’s grievance doesn’t lay out a quantity, however based mostly on my calculations WRD Investments may very well be on the hook for round $40,000 associated to the FLSA claims alone. Ought to this matter proceed far into litigation, WRD Investments is also on the hook for lawyer charges which may ultimately surpass the $40,000 quantity.
The Kenney case talked about in the beginning of this submit could have vital impression on Mr. Garity’s claims. Mr. Garity’s case is filed in a Ninth Circuit district courtroom and nothing binds a Ninth Circuit courtroom to comply with a choice from the Tenth Circuit. Nevertheless, the Ninth Circuit district courtroom may very well be persuaded by the Tenth Circuit Courtroom of Appeals choice and determine to comply with its precedent. Alternatively, it may select to disregard the precedent and determine to create its personal path. Both means, it will likely be very fascinating to see the authorized arguments which might be made in Mr. Garity’s case relating to whether or not the FLSA protects marijuana workers.
Regardless, lesson might be gleaned from Mr. Garity’s grievance. First, make certain you’re correctly classifying your workers as exempt or non-exempt. Second, and maybe even extra importantly, guarantee that you’re correctly paying your workers. If you’re ever involved you’re in violation of wage and hour legal guidelines, its all the time a good suggestion to have a hashish employment legislation lawyer evaluation your cost procedures. It might value some cash up entrance however will possible prevent a lot, rather more in the long term.