Martinez et al v. Ehrenberg Fire District
ORDER denying 55 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 6/26/2015.(DGC, nvo)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
Luis E. Martinez, et al.,
Ehrenberg Fire District,
On June 8, 2015, the Court entered an order granting Plaintiffs’ motion for
summary judgment and denying Defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that
Plaintiffs were employees – not volunteers – within the meaning of the Fair Labor
Standards Act and the Arizona Minimum Wage Act. Doc. 53 at 11. Defendant has filed
a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the Court erred in not applying the “20%
guideline” set forth in Department of Labor (“DOL”) Opinion Letters. Doc. 55.
The 20% guideline articulated by the DOL “suggests that receipt of pay less than
20% of what a fulltime employee would receive for the same service is indicative of
volunteer status.” Doc. 53 at 8. Relying on Opinion Letter FLSA2005-51, the Court
found that the guideline did not apply because it “assumes that the compensation in
question is not based on hours worked,” and Plaintiffs’ pay was in part based on hours
worked. Id. at 8-9.
Defendant’s motion notes that two other DOL Opinion Letters apply the 20%
guideline to situations where pay can fluctuate depending on the number of shifts worked
by firefighters and the number of hours spent on call during shifts. Doc. 55 at 3-5. The
Court read these Opinion Letters when considering the summary judgment motions. The
Court found significant that both letters were addressing compensation based on a “per
call” basis, a form of compensation specifically identified in the Code of Federal
Regulations as appropriate for firefighters. See 29 C.F.R. § 553.106(e). As the Court
noted in its order, DOL Opinion Letters also make clear that per-hour compensation is
viewed as being tied to productivity and inconsistent with volunteer status. Doc. 53 at 6-
7. The Court therefore found continuing meaning in the language of Opinion Letter
FLSA2005-51 – the original source of the 20% guideline – suggesting that the guideline
does not apply when compensation is based on “hours worked.”
FLSA2005-51 at 2. The Court continues to hold this view.
What is more, the 20% guideline is only a factor to be considered – it is not
dispositive. The Court made clear that the 20% guideline would not have changed the
outcome even if it was applied: “Given the other factors identified in this order, the
Court would find that Plaintiffs are not volunteers even if the 20% guideline applied and
Plaintiffs fell below it.” Doc. 53 at 9 n.3. Defendant does not challenge the other
grounds upon which the Court’s decision rested.
IT IS ORDERED that the motion for reconsideration (Doc. 55) is denied.
Dated this 26th day of June, 2015.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?