The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law governing wage payments. The FLSA guarantees minimum wage and overtime protections to most, but not all, workers in the United States. Congress created an exemption from the FLSA’s overtime requirements – known as the Motor Carrier Act Exemption – for “any employee with respect to whom the Secretary of Transportation has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service.” 29 U.S.C. 213(b)(1). But Congress also created an exception to the Motor Carrier Act Exemption for employees whose job “in whole or part” affects the safe operations of vehicles lighter than 10,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (except those vehicles designed to transport hazardous materials or large numbers of passengers).
In one recent case, an armored car driver was awarded unpaid overtime because she fell within the exception to the Motor Carrier Act Exemption. McMaster v. Eastern Armored Servs., 780 F.3d 167 (3d Cir. 2015). The driver spent 51% of her time driving vehicles heavier than 10,000 pounds and 49% of her time driving vehicles lighter than 10,000 pounds. She often worked more than 40 hours per week, but her employer did not pay any overtime. Even though she spent more than half her time driving heavier vehicles, the Third Circuit held that she fell within Congress’s carve out from the Motor Carrier Act Exemption and was entitled to overtime
As you can see, the FLSA can be very technical. If you have questions about whether you are being paid correctly, please call us toll free at 1-855-825-5916.