Wednesday, July 06, 2005

S.C. Ct. App. Reverses Summary Judgment on FLSA Case

Miller v. Blumenthal Mills concerned overtime pay for mill workers. In order to recover for a violation of section 207(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employee must prove (1) he worked overtime hours without compensation; (2) the amount and extent of the overtime work as a matter of just and reasonable inference; and (3) the employer had actual or constructive knowledge of the overtime work.

The court found that the following was enough to survive a summary judgment motion in the case of Patricia Miller.

Patricia testified she had been trained and instructed by Blumenthal to engage in this pre-shift activity. Patricia specifically named the trainers, supervisors, and other members of management who had directed her to perform this pre-shift work. Patricia indicated there were a number of employees who heard the trainers, supervisors, and members of management when they instructed her in this regard. Unlike Darrikhuma, who performed his overtime hours on the weekend when management was not on site, Patricia performed her work during working hours and during a time when management was present at the mill. In contrast to Darrikhuma, who was threatened with termination if he worked the extra hours, Patricia testified that, when she was working uncompensated, pre-shift hours, one of her supervisors "would come by and tap [her] on the shoulder and say, 'Good job,' and keep right on getting it."

The Court, however, affirmed the grant of summary judgment as to Ernest Miller:

the deposition of Ernest is imbued with generalities, lack of particularity, vagueness, and inexactitude in regard to any mandatory, specific pre-shift activities. The conclusory and non-specific testimony of Ernest fails to survive the grant of summary judgment. We agree with the circuit judge in his grant of summary judgment as to all claims of Ernest.

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