Ninth Circuit Takes Novel Approach to Minimum Wage Compliance
Employees who were paid different hourly wages depending on the task and time spent on it filed a nationwide class action against their employer alleging a violation of the minimum-wage provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The company paid call center workers a per-minute wage that varied depending on their performance when they were handling calls; and they were paid hourly for attending meetings and completing administrative tasks. Setting up a question of first impression, the plaintiffs claimed the FLSA requires the minimum wage to be paid on an hour-by-hour basis. They accused the company of violating the law by paying them less than the minimum wage for some hours, but admitted their employer paid them a subsidy when their weekly pay was below the minimum. The Ninth Circuit held the relevant unit for determining minimum-wage compliance under the FLSA was the workweek as a whole.