United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
CATHERINE F. RIGGLE, at al., Plaintiffs,
THE REVOLUTION DARTS AND BILLIARDS-CENTREVILLE, LLC, et al., Defendants.
M. HILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for
Catherine Riggle and Elise Minnick were each employed at
three pool halls owned and operated by the Defendants.
Plaintiffs began working for the Defendants in April 2014
when Defendants purchased the three pool halls from
Plaintiffs' previous employer. The Plaintiffs' were
employed as bartenders, cocktail waitresses, and shift
leaders. For the majority of their employment period both
plaintiffs were compensated at an hourly rate, with the
exception of a period of time from September 19, 2016, until
February 14, 2017, during which time Ms. Riggle was placed on
a salary of $43, 500. They received varying rates of hourly
compensation based on the role they performed in separate
allege that throughout the period of their employment they
received no overtime pay for working above forty hours in a
single workweek. They further allege that Defendants failed
to post or otherwise make visible or available at
Defendants' place of business any poster or information
that notified employees of the federal overtime compensation
reguirement, and that the Defendants explicitly and willfully
misinformed each Plaintiff that they were not entitled to be
paid for overtime hours at the federal overtime pay rate.
filed their complaint on July 12, 2017. On January 29, 2018,
after discovery had been completed, Plaintiffs filed their
Motion for Summary Judgment.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court should grant
summary judgment if the pleadings and evidence show that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In reviewing a motion for summary
judgment, the court views the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Once a
motion for summary judgment is properly made, the opposing
party has the burden to show that a genuine dispute of
material fact exists. See Matsushita Flee. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). The
Court finds this case is ripe for summary judgment.
action under the FLSA must generally be commenced within two
years after the cause of action accrued, but where an
employer commits a willful violation of the FLSA, an action
may be commenced within three years after the cause of action
accrued. 29 U.S.C. § 255(a). Willful violation may be
found where the "employer knew its conduct violated the
FLSA, or showed reckless disregard of such a
determination." Desmond v. PNGI Charles Town Gaming,
L.L.C., 630 F.3d 351, 358 (4th Cir. 2011) .
argue they are entitled to summary judgment on the issue of
willfulness of the violations, and are therefore entitled to
the one-year extension of the statute of limitations.
Defendants have acknowledged that they were aware of the
recordkeeping and timekeeping requirements of the FLSA, and
yet Defendants have failed to produce any timekeeping records
besides secondary source spreadsheets derived from paystubs
which were in turn derived from time records the Defendants
admit had been altered by subtracting a half-hour lunch break
from each shift. These spreadsheets detail only the total
hours worked each two-week pay period and the total wages
earned, and thus do not indicate how many shifts were worked
each week or how many half-hour deductions were made.
Defendants have at least shown reckless disregard, therefore,
as to whether they were violating the FLSA by failing to
maintain proper records. Plaintiffs are thus entitled to the
three-year statute of limitations.
argue that they were non-exempt employees entitled to receive
overtime compensation under the FLSA for hours worked in
excess of 40 during a single workweek. The FLSA requires that
employees be paid time and a half for hours worked in excess
of forty in a single week. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). The
FLSA also provides an exemption from the overtime pay
requirement, however, for persons "employed in a bona
fide executive, administrative, or professional
capacity." 29 U.S.C. § 213(a) (1). The application
of an exemption under the FLSA is an affirmative defense on
which the employer has the burden of proof. Clark v. J.M.
Benson Co., Inc., 789 F.2d 282, 286 (4th Cir. 1986).
Moreover, "the remedial nature of the statute requires
that FLSA exemptions be narrowly construed against the
employers seeking to assert them and their application
limited to those establishments plainly and unmistakably
within [the exemptions'] terms and spirit."
Darveau v. Detecon, Inc., 515 F.3d 334, 337-38 (4th
Cir. 2008) (internal quotations omitted). "[W]here the
record evidence will not allow an employer to meet its heavy
burden of showing, by clear and convincing evidence, that an
exemption applies, then summary judgment is
appropriate." Morrison v. County of Fairfax,
826 F.3d 758, 773 (4th Cir. 2016).
argue that Plaintiffs were exempt from the overtime pay
requirement because they were employed as managers, and
therefore fall unaer the administrative and/or executive
exemptions. However, Department of Labor regulations define
what constitutes employment in an executive or administrative
capacity. To qualify for the administrative exemption, (1)
the employee must be paid a salary, (2) the employee's
"primary duty [must be] the performance of office or
non-manual work directly related to the management or general
business operations" of the business, and (3} the
employee's "primary duty [must] include the
exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect
to matters of significance." 29 C.F.R. § 541.200.
an executive employee is defined as one who is (1) paid a
salary, (2} has a primary duty of managing the enterprise,
(3) "customarily and regularly directs the work of two
or more other employees, " and (4) "has the
authority to hire or fire other employees or whose
suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing,
[etc.] ... of other employees are given particular
weight." 29 C.F.R. § 541.100. In both of these
definitions "the term 'primary duty' means the
principal, main, major or most important duty that the
employee performs." 29 C.F.R. § 541.700(a) .
initial matter, the record indicates that both Plaintiffs
were paid on an hourly basis for their entire period of
employment, with the exception of a five-month span of time
during which Plaintiff Riggle was paid on a salaried basis.
Thus, the majority of the work performed by the Plaintiffs
cannot qualify for either the administrative or the executive
the Plaintiffs were considered salaried employees, however,
the "primary duty" prongs of the exemption tests
also fail. The record indicates that the plaintiffs'
primary duty is serving as bar-enders and cocktail
waitresses. FLSA exemptions must be construed narrowly, and
it cannot be said that Plaintiffs' primary duty involves
office work or non-manual management of business operations
of the employer. Thus, the administrative capacity exemption
does not apply. Furthermore, the executive capacity exemption
also does not apply, since the Plaintiffs' primary duty
is not directly related to management of the enterprise. The
Plaintiffs are therefore non-exempt employees entitled to
argue that there is a genuine dispute of material fact
regarding whether the half-hour manual deductions that
Defendants made from each of Plaintiffs' shifts were
lawful under the FLSA. Defendants contend that the FLSA
allows automatic deductions for lunch breaks if the employer
accurately records the employees' work hours, including
work performed during the lunch break. However, Defendants
have failed to meet that standard, as they have not produced
any timekeeping records that accurately reflect the hours
worked during each shift, ...