Although most recent conversations regarding the Fair Labor and Standards Act (“FLSA”), legislation establishing a minimum wage and other compensation rules for most U.S. employees, has focused on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, lower federal courts on a daily basis address many questions regarding the provisions of this important law. Among the most common disputes that arise in FLSA litigation are those regarding the applicability of the numerous exemptions from overtime wage provisions. This everyday FLSA battle is illustrated in Bailey v. Innovative Contracting Solutions, Inc., a recent decision from the Atlanta Division of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
The plaintiff is this case was hired by the principal defendant, Innovative Contracting Solutions, Inc. (“Innovative”), in July 2011. The plaintiff worked as a project superintendent for Innovative, which is a commercial general contractor that renovates offices, medical facilities, industrial buildings, and restaurants throughout the region. For his work, the plaintiff was paid an annual salary of $49,000. Beyond these fundamental facts, many issues remained in dispute. Specifically, the parties disputed facts involving the scope and apportionment of the plaintiff’s responsibilities as project superintendent, the plaintiff’s supervisory authority and control over lower-level Innovative employees and subcontractors, and finally the proper hierarchy of power at Innovative, particularly in relation to project superintendents and project managers. Innovative never paid the defendant time and half for any overtime hours worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek. The plaintiff therefore brought a suit against Innovative for these unpaid overtime wages. The defendant moved for summary judgment, which the district court ultimately denied with respect to the most important issues.