FLSA claims dismissed at pleadings Stage

The United Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed the claims of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at the pleadings stage because Landers’ allegations fell short of the standards of fair labor, due to which the district court properly dismissed his complaint for failure to state a plausible claim. Landers v. Quality Communications, Inc., 771 F.3d 638 (9th Cir. 2014).

Landers was employed by Quality as a cable services installer. He brought this suit, individually and on behalf of other similarly situated persons, alleging that the company failed to pay him, as also other similarly situated individuals, minimum wages and overtime wages in violation of the FLSA. In particular, he was subjected to a “piecework no overtime” wage system, whereby he was not being compensated for working in excess of forty hours per week.

On an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, the court affirmed stating further that in order to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a), a plaintiff asserting an FLSA minimum and overtime wage claim must allege that he worked more than 40 hours in a given workweek without being compensated during that specific workweek. It was further opined that although the FLSA plaintiff is not required to approximate the number of hours worked without compensation, the plaintiff must allege at least one workweek when he worked in excess of the 40 hours and was not paid for the excess hours in that workweek, or was not paid minimum wages.

As opposed to the court’s observation, Landers’ complaint failed to specify workweek when he worked in excess of the 40 hours and when he was not paid overtime or minimum wages for that specific workweek. Given these generalized assertions of violations of the FLSA minimum and overtime wages provisions, the complaint definitely warranted a dismissal.


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