This summary also appears under Employment & Labor Law
Issues: Compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); 29 USC § 207; "Overtime" pay; §§ 206 & 207(a)(1); Chao v. Tradesmen Int'l, Inc.; Exceptions to overtime pay for training and similar activities; 29 CFR § 785.27; §§ 553.226(a) & (b)(1); Statutory interpretation; Edward D. Rollert Residuary Trust v. Commissioner; Department of Labor's (DOL's) opinion letters; Beck v. City of Cleveland; Skidmore v. Swift & Co.; Chao v. Occupational Safety & Health Review Comm'n
Court: U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit
Case Name: Misewicz v. City of Memphis, TN
e-Journal Number: 58590
Judge(s): Moore, Cook, and Steeh
In an issue of first impression involving interpretation of the FLSA, the court held that the defendant-City could avoid paying the plaintiffs-firefighters overtime compensation for paramedic training if it could prove only one of the two exceptions provided in the DOL's regulations. Plaintiffs sought overtime pay for mandatory paramedic training in excess of the hourly levels specified in § 207. However, the City refused to pay for the mandatory training, citing an exception in § 553.226(b)(1) for public sector employees. The plaintiffs argued that the City must show that the paramedic training requirement satisfied both exceptions (§§ 785.27 and 553.226) set forth in the DOL regulations to escape liability. The court upheld the district court's ruling that the City could avoid paying for the mandatory training as generally required under §§ 206 and 207(a)(1) by invoking one of the two exceptions to the general rule found in the DOL regulations, in this case § 553.226(b)(1). The court noted that no court had yet interpreted § 553.226, or construed the general language providing compensation in § 553.226(a) in conjunction with the exception in § 553.226(b). It then held that "the plain text of § 553.226, its legislative and regulatory history, and DOL Opinion Letters on § 553.226 all indicate that this section provides a stand-alone exception to the general rule that training time is compensable." The City "can escape liability by proving only that an exception in § 553.226(b) is met." The court then applied Tennessee law and concluded that the exception in § 553.226(b)(1) applied because to perform the paramedic duties of their job, Tennessee law required plaintiffs to attend training to become certified as paramedics. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the City.
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