Hasan v. GPM Investments LLC
A court may exclude evidence that managers worked a fluctuating work week. The defendant, GPM Investments, owns a chain of gas stations and convenience stores. Allegedly, the defendant hired the plaintiffs to work as managers and did not pay overtime, when the plaintiffs worked more than 40 hours per week. The plaintiffs sued and alleged that the defendant failed to pay overtime, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Connecticut Minimum Wage Act. The defendant objected that the plaintiffs were exempt from the provisions that govern overtime, because they worked as managers. The defendant also claimed that the plaintiffs' work hours varied from week to week, and that although the plaintiffs' hourly rates of compensation changed, because they sometimes worked extra hours, the defendant paid the plaintiffs the same rate, regardless of hours worked. The plaintiffs filed a motion in limine, to preclude evidence about the fluctuating work week. The plaintiffs argued that this method of compensation is inappropriate when an employer wrongly classifies an employee as exempt from the protections of the FLSA. The court found that if the defendant wrongly classified the plaintiffs, the parties did not reach agreement about the essential term of a fluctuating work week, which is whether overtime will result in pay at a higher rate, because of the number of hours worked. Allegedly, the defendant expected the plaintiffs to work at least 52 hours per week, every week without exception. If the plaintiffs' hours fluctuated, it was because sometimes they worked nearly 100 hours per week. If a factfinder concludes that the defendant failed to pay overtime and violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the court will be required to decide the amount of the plaintiffs' hourly rates, if there were no FLSA violations. The court will not rely on the fluctuating work week, in the event that the court makes that decision, and it granted the plaintiffs' motion in limine, to exclude evidence about a fluctuating work week.