BALTIMORE — Carl Helfand, an office clerk and security guard for WPIP, Inc., a Maryland company that provides parking, storage, and lot-rental services for independent tractor-trailer drivers and corporate fleet drivers, filed suit against the company for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Maryland Wage and Hour Laws. Helfand claimed that WPIP paid him for forty hours of work each week even though he consistently worked as many as fifty or sixty hours. Later, WPIP apparently started scheduling Helfand for fifty-two hours of work each week, but only paid him his normal wages without any overtime for those fifty-two hours.
WPIP requested that the court dismiss his claim under FLSA, arguing that he did not satisfy FLSA’s interstate commerce requirements. The court sided with Helfand and allowed the case to move forward.
Interstate Commerce Requirement: Enterprise Provision
To recover for FLSA violations, a plaintiff has to demonstrate that:
- The employer is an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce; or
- The plaintiff himself has engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.
Under FLSA, commerce is broadly defined to include trade, commerce, transportation, transmission, or communication among the states. The enterprise coverage provision includes employers with employees who handle, sell, or otherwise work on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for commerce by any person. However, only employers whose annual gross volume of sales made or business done is at least $500,000 may be covered by the enterprise provision.
In this case, the court found that Helfand had alleged enough facts for the case to move forward under the enterprise provision of the interstate commerce requirement. The defendant provided incomplete statements in trying to show that the company earned less than $500,000. Therefore, the plaintiff had alleged sufficient facts for the court to allow it to move forward and deny WPIP’s motion to dismiss.
Individual Interstate Commerce
Additionally, the court stated that even if the enterprise coverage did not apply, the individual commerce provision would have. In order to show that an employee is engaged in interstate commerce, the employee would have to show that the work is related to a part of the business that engages in interstate commerce. Here, the court found that his job as a clerk and security guard to a company that caters to truck drivers likely qualifies as related to interstate commerce.
FLSA is broadly interpreted to provide maximum coverage, and most employees are probably covered by its protections. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you believe your wage rights have been violated but are unsure of whether your employer is covered by FLSA. Our top rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.