Muskat, Mahony & Devine partner Corey Devine has been featured in Bloomberg Law discussing the U.S. Supreme Court case Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. v. Hewitt. The article, “Overtime for Six-Figure Income Worker Tests Bounds of FLSA Rules,” (subscription required) analyzes the case and the impact the Court’s decision could have on federal wage-and-hour law. At issue is whether a worker making more than $200,000 a year is entitled to overtime pay because he was paid a day rate rather than a salary.
In the case, which was argued before the Supreme Court on October 12, Helix Energy Solutions Group is fighting to overturn the Fifth Circuit’s decision that Michael Hewitt was not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements because Helix paid him a day rate, rather than on a salary basis. Helix is arguing that Mr. Hewitt is an exempt employee under the FLSA because the company paid him a daily rate of at least $963, meaning that in any workweek in which he performed work, he was paid well above the minimum salary threshold set by the FLSA’s implementing regulations.
In the article, Mr. Devine provides insights on the attitudes of the Justices toward the issue presented in the case, as expressed in their questioning during oral argument. For example, Mr. Devine notes that Justice Kavanaugh strongly suggested during oral argument that the Department of Labor’s implementing regulations for the FLSA may be invalid on their face with respect to the salary basis requirement.
Mr. Devine also told the publication that the decision could have a big impact on the energy industry because it has historically relied on a day rate pay structure to pay workers.
“It’s not an overstatement to say we’re on the edge of our seats,” said Mr. Devine. “This is a case of great importance to the oil and gas industry, so listening to the arguments and having the case advance closer to a resolution is top of mind for a lot of my clients. I think people are trying to read the tea leaves.”