Tennessee workers might want to take note of the Supreme Court of the United States’s denial of a writ of certiorari, allowing the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to stand. The case involved a flexible benefits plan offered by the City of San Gabriel, California in which it offered employees cash to select their own medical benefits. They could alternatively choose to accept cash instead of benefits.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the city relied on a statutory section in order to disregard the cash-in-lieu payments it made to its employees in its calculation of overtime pay. Several police officers sued, asserting that the cash-in-lieu of benefits payments that they had received should have been included in their overtime pay calculations.
Both the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held that the payments could not be excluded from overtime calculations. The Court of Appeals also ruled that the city’s violation was willful, allowing liquidated damages. By denying the city’s writ of certiorari, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the lower courts’ rulings to stand.
The Supreme Court’s denial of the writ of certiorari out of the 9th Circuit may provide a basis for workers in Tennessee to make similar claims. Wage and hour laws are meant to protect workers, helping to ensure that they receive the hourly rates and overtime pay to which they should be entitled. Workers who believe that their employers have failed to pay them for the hours that they have worked or for the correct overtime amounts might want to consult with experienced employment law attorneys in order to see what recourse might be available to them.