The 10th Circuit Grants Re-leaf to Workers In search of Overtime Below the FLSA


Appears like arguments in search of to dismiss FLSA wage claims below the guise that “cannabis is illegal below federal law” have gone up in smoke. The 10th circuit made a buzz in Robert Kenney v. Helix TCS, Inc., Case No. 18-1105, by holding that cannabis business workers can claim overtime below the Federal Labor Requirements Act (“FLSA”).

The FLSA needs employers to spend staff overtime if staff function a lot more than 40 hours in a workweek.

In Helix, Kenney—a safety worker in the cannabis industry—brought an action against his employer claiming that he was misclassified as exempt and sought inter alia overtime wages below the FLSA. Kenney argued that he and other co-workers routinely worked more than 40 hours per week but have been not compensated for any overtime in violation of the FLSA.

Helix moved to dismiss the action and argued that the FLSA did not apply simply because the marijuana business is regarded as illicit below the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). Helix argues that permitting cannabis staff to obtain protections below the FLSA would “create a clear repugnancy” involving the FLSA and the CSA and “impermissibly render the two laws mutually inconsistent.” The district court denied the Motion to Dismiss, and the Appellate Court affirmed.

The Appellate Court retorted that “‘case law is clear that employers are not excused from complying with federal laws’ simply because of their other federal violations.” The court noted that a discovering that pot workers are covered by the FLSA is in line with “both the plain reading and the general objective of the statute, and performing so does not call for disavowal of the CSA” simply because congress has amended the CSA a lot of instances considering that the enactment of the CSA “without excluding staff operating in the marijuana business.” The court also held that each statutes seek to discourage businesses from in search of an unfair benefit more than reputable employers and, therefore, cannabis workers “are not categorically excluded from FLSA protections.”

Why is this crucial? Properly, cannabis employers governed by the FLSA, will either need to have to schedule workers so that they do not function a lot more than 40 hours in a workweek or spend workers overtime unless employers want to be subjected to a lawsuit. Furthermore, cannabis employers in California, will have to take other precautions simply because California’s labor laws call for employers to compensate staff who function: (1) a lot more than eight hours in a function day, and (two) a lot more than 40 hours in a workweek. For a lot more data relating to regardless of whether your company’s practices comply with each State and Federal law, please speak to the author.


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