E-Alert Case Updates
Employee of a Local Laundromat is Not Covered by the Fair Labor Act
Dora Maritza Aguilar v. LR Coin Laundromat, Inc.
In Aguilar v. LR Coin Laundromat, Inc., Judge Bennett of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland held that an employee at a local laundromat, LR Coin Laundromat, Inc. (“LR Coin”), was not protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act 1938, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219 (“FLSA”), because LR Coin did not conduct sufficient business to place it under the purview of the FLSA and Plaintiff’s duties at LR Coin did not affect interstate commerce. Specifically, Judge Bennett found that LR Coin did not meet the $500,000 threshold for the FLSA to apply, and Judge Bennett found that Plaintiff’s activities in assisting with the operation of a local laundry operation did not significantly affect interstate commerce as required under the FLSA.
Aguilar arose out of Plaintiff’s claims that she worked more than forty (40) hours per week without being compensated at time and a half, and that she worked hours for which she was not compensated at all. LR Coin hired Plaintiff as a laundry attendant in February 2010. Her duties included, “assisting customers, washing and folding clothes, cleaning the facilities and the washing machines as well as operating the television sets.” Plaintiff alleged that she worked approximately 51 to 52.5 hours per week. Plaintiff also alleged that she was not compensated at time and a half, for all hours over forty (40), as required by the FLSA. Plaintiff also claims that she regularly worked additional hours after LR Coin closed, for which she was not compensated at all. Therefore, Plaintiff filed this action under the FLSA to seek compensation for overtime hours and her uncompensated/undercompensated time.
LR Coin moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. LR Coin claimed that Plaintiff did not meet the requirements under the FLSA. The FLSA applies when (1) the employee is engaged in commerce or the production of goods for commerce, or (2) the employer is an enterprise engaged in commerce for the production of goods. Judge Bennett found that Plaintiff was not an employee engaged in commerce or the production of goods for commerce and that LR Coin was not an enterprise engaged in commerce.
Judge Bennett found that Plaintiff was not an employee who was engaged in commerce for the production of goods. Judge Bennett found the case of Russell v. Continental Restaurant, Inc., 430 F.Supp.2d 521 (D. Md. 2006), instructive. In Russell, the court held that a waitress at a local restaurant was not significantly engaged in interstate commerce. That waitress prepared food, served it to patrons, and closed the restaurant. Judge Bennett found that Plaintiff’s duties at LR Coin were similar to the waitress’ duties in Russell. Therefore, Judge Bennett found that Plaintiff did not meet the first prong of the FLSA test.
Judge Bennett also found that LR Coin was not an enterprise engaged in commerce because it did not have an annual gross volume of sales of $500,000 or more. The FLSA defines an enterprise engaged in commerce as one, “whose annual gross volume of sales made or business done is not less than $500,000.” Plaintiff did not introduce any evidence that LR Coin conducted more than $500,000 in business; and therefore, LR Coin did not meet the second prong of the FLSA test. As such, Judge Bennett dismissed Plaintiff’s claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
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