The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion last week holding for the first time that a “day rate” in excess of $455 paid to a highly compensated employee meets the requirements of the “salary basis” test under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Specifically, in Faludi v. U.S. Shale Solutions, No. 17-20808, 2019 WL 3940878 (5th Cir. Aug. 21, 2019), the plaintiff, a consultant, brought suit alleging that his former client and employer owed him overtime under the FLSA because the plaintiff had not been paid on a salary basis. Instead, the plaintiff received $1,000 per day for any day on which he performed any amount of work in Houston and $1,350 per day for any day in which he performed any amount of work outside of Houston. However, under the plaintiff’s arrangement with the defendant-employer, if he worked more than 40 hours in a week, he did not receive any overtime premiums. In the district court, the defendant-employer argued, and the district court found, that the plaintiff’s claims failed as a matter of law because he fell within the FLSA’s “highly compensated employee” exemption.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that he did not qualify for the “highly compensated employee” exemption because the day rate payment system used by his employer did not satisfy the “salary basis” test. In support of his claim, the plaintiff argued: (1) the day rate system did not calculate pay “on a weekly, or less frequent basis” in violation of 29 C.F.R. § 541.602(a); (2) the plaintiff voluntarily reduced some of his day rate payments on invoices he submitted to the defendant-employer for days that he performed less than a full day’s work; and (3) the day rate system did not satisfy the “reasonable relationship” test articulated in 29 C.F.R. § 541.604(b).
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit approves day rates for some highly compensated employees