By Steven L. Brenneman of Fox, Swibel, Levin & Carroll, LLP
Are workers who wash the windows of Chicago’s high-rises paid by commission? Is their employer a retail or service establishment? A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit—which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin—answered those questions in ways that might surprise you.
As anyone familiar with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) knows, federal law requires employers engaged in interstate commerce to pay hourly workers at least 1½ times their normal hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The employer admittedly did not pay its window washers overtime even though they often worked more than 40 hours per week.
You may be thinking that the employer should be on the hook for thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees. If so, you’d be wrong.
Read more here.