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Indiana Supreme Court rules on wage statute

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court ruled today that the term "days" in the Wage Payment Statute refers to business days, not calendar days. The opinion also clarifies several school-related aspects relating to the state statute.

A 13-page decision in Tabatha J. Naugle and Sandra M. Cain v. Beech Grove City Schools (http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/04270701trb.pdf), 49S02-0606-CV-242, affirms a decision by Marion Circuit Judge Ted Sosin.

Aside from the definition of days, justices also unanimously clarify a two-year-old ruling in Brownsburg Community School Corp. v. Natare Corp., 824 N.E.2d 336 (Ind. 2005), in that the language doesn ;t prevent the application of the statute to school corporations, that no school powers statute exists to preclude that application, there is no generic good faith defense to the wage statute, and that there is no requirement within the statute ;s 10-day rule that an employee request or demand wages.

This case stems from a February 2004 suit by Naugle and Cain, who were employed by Beech Grove Schools as custodians during 2003. The school district implemented a new payroll schedule in summer 2003, and the pair filed suit the next year – after both had left their positions – alleging the district had violated the Wage Payment Statute by failing to pay their wages within the time the statute required.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court had wrongly interpreted the word "days," but affirmed under language in the Brownsburg decision that it interpreted to mean school corporations were not employers under the statute.

Now, the Supreme Court has affirmed the trial court ruling in favor of Beech Grove. The Indiana School Boards Association, Indiana State Teachers Association, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 62 were all amicus curiae parties in this case.
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