Friday, February 15, 2013

Individual Liability and the Joint Employer Doctrine Under the FLSA

Judge Matricciani, writing for the panel, issued an interesting analysis of the joint-employer doctrine in Campusano v. Lusitano Const. LLC, No. 1529, 2012 Md. App. LEXIS 125 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Nov. 21, 2012).  In Campusano plaintiff had brought an action for unpaid wages and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (the “MWPCL”) against his employer, Lusitano Construction; the sole owner of Lusitano, Mr. Geoffrey de Oliveira; and Mr. Francisco de Oliveira, a project supervisor employed by Lusitano.  The Court held that Mr. Francisco de Oliveira could not be liable under a joint-employer theory (the Court did not disturb the trial court’s conclusion that Mr. Geoffrey Oliveira was liable under the FLSA and MWPCL).  In so holding, Court applied the “economic realities” test to the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law for the first time, and found that Mr. Francisco de Oliveira was not an “employer” within the meaning of either the FLSA or the Maryland wage Payment and Collection Law.  The court explained his holding by noting that Geoffrey, not Francisco had the power to hire and fire, that Geoffrey’s line of credit with Francisco was unrelated to the Company, and that Francisco was uninvolved in paying employees. 

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