Marshal’s wage suit against town fails on appeal

September 17, 2015

A former marshal in a small southern Indiana town is not entitled to unpaid wages, overtime and other damages because the town employed fewer than five law enforcement officers, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday in a matter of first impression.

The court affirmed a Greene Superior Court grant of summary judgment in favor of the town in Donald Richardson v. Town of Worthington, Indiana, 28A01-1503-CT-83. The town successfully argued to the trial court that the Indiana Minimum Wage Law did not apply to its officers because Worthington employed just three officers, qualifying for an exemption under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Richardson argued Worthington is an employer under the state Minimum Wage Law and thus he is qualified for overtime compensation. He argued that because Worthington was exempt from the federal FLSA’s maximum hours requirement, the town is not subject to the federal law and therefore is an “employer” for purposes of the state Minimum Wage Law.

The appeals panel declined Richardson’s invitation to similarly construe the minimum wage and maximum hours sections of the FLSA as “minimum wage provisions.” Judge Margret Robb wrote for the panel that each section of the FLSA has a specific use.

“Worthington is subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage provisions,” though not the maximum hours provision, Robb wrote. “Therefore, it is exempt from the MWL and its overtime pay requirements.”

“The FLSA’s maximum hours provisions are distinct from its minimum wage provisions. MWL’s reference to the ‘minimum wage provisions’ of the FLSA is to FLSA section 206, not sections 206 and 207” under 29 U.S.C. Chapter 8. “Worthington is an employer subject to the minimum wage provisions but not the maximum hours provisions of the FLSA. The MWL, therefore, excludes Worthington from its purview.  The trial court’s grant of summary judgment is affirmed.”  


Recent Articles by Dave Stafford