It may come as a surprise, but the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") does not apply to everyone. Even so, it seems like every week there is a new case about some employer failing to pay minimum wage or overtime to its employees.
In federal court in Sherman, two landscape workers have filed a lawsuit against A&A Landscape and Irrigation on behalf of themselves and all other A&A employees claiming they worked as long as 12 hours a day, six days a week, without being paid overtime, according to The Southeast Texas Record.
The workers' lawsuit alleges a violation of the FLSA. So what types of employers must comply with the FLSA?
In general under the FLSA, any employer that takes in more than $500,000 per year is required to pay overtime. If the business does not bring in that much in a year, it can still be covered if it is a hospital, school, or part of a public agency.
If your employer does not fit in one of those situations, you can still be personally protected by the overtime and minimum wage provisions of the FLSA if your employment is in any way connected to "interstate commerce."
This means that you must be engaged in either literal interstate commerce by providing services in multiple states or producing a product that's sent across state lines; or by using, selling, or working on goods that have been moved in or produced for interstate commerce.
The FLSA also covers domestic workers who earn more than $1,000 a year or work more than eight hours a week. Domestic workers include anyone who works at the temporary or permanent private household of their employer.
In the A&A Landscape lawsuit, it will be interesting to see if A&A or its employees fall within the strictures of the FLSA. It seems likely A&A rakes in more than $500,000 per year, given the large company's projects for prominent entitles such as UT Dallas. It might also be possible to argue that the landscapers use equipment that has been shipped interstate and are thus governed by the law.
All in all, it seems like the landscape laborers must first get over the FLSA hump before they will be able to dig into their arguments about overtime.