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Masterson v. Federal Express Corp.

December 10, 2008

BRENDAN MASTERSON, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS
v.
FEDERAL EXPRESS CORPORATION, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Vanaskie

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiffs Brendan Masterson, John Martin, and Joseph Defazio, Sr., former employees of Federal Express Corporation (FedEx), on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, bring this action for allegedly not receiving compensation for work performed before and after their shifts. Plaintiffs assert statutory and common law claims. Presently before the Court is Defendant FedEx's Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act Claim ("PMWA"), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 333.101, et seq.*fn1 The sole issue presented for decision at this stage is whether a workweek standard, by which a violation occurs where compensation is less than the product of the total number of hours worked and the statutory minimum hourly rate (as argued by FedEx), or a per-hour standard, by which a violation occurs if there is any time that is not compensated (as claimed by Plaintiffs), governs alleged violations of the PMWA. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that the Pennsylvania General Assembly intended a workweek standard to apply to the PMWA. Summary judgment in favor of FedEx is therefore warranted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Brendan Masterson, John Martin, and Joseph Defazio, Sr. are former couriers of FedEx. (Def.'s Statement of Material Facts ("SMF"), Dkt. Entry 31, at ¶ 1.) A courier's responsibilities included operating company vehicles, delivering and picking-up packages, meeting aircraft, and loading and unloading aircraft. (Id. at ¶ 2; see Nonexempt Job Description, Dkt. Entry 31-5, at 97-98.) According to Plaintiffs, their pre-shift work included: obtaining the daily manifest; getting computers, printers and printer paper from an equipment room; obtaining customer supplies; stocking their vehicles; and performing a pre-trip inspection of their vehicles. (See Masterson, Martin & Defazio Declarations, Dkt. Entries 37-2 -4, at ¶ 3.) At the end of the shift, couriers were allegedly required to finalize paperwork, return their equipment, process and load packages, and assist in cleaning and locking up. (Id. at ¶ 4.)

Couriers at FedEx conducted their work between the hours of 7:40 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., depending on whether they had a delivery or pick-up cycle. (Def's. SMF, at ¶ 20.) The morning part-time couriers generally started at 7:30 a.m., and finished by 11:00 a.m. (Id.) The afternoon part-time couriers generally started at 2:30 p.m., and ended around 7:30 p.m. (Id.)

Full-time couriers generally started around 7:40 a.m., and ended around 5:30 p.m. (Id.)

Mr. Masterson was employed by FedEx from September 1, 1992, to May 15, 2007. (Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 3.) His pay rate between December 10, 2004, and March 5, 2005, was $19.36 per hour, which is $774.40 per week for forty hours. (Id. at ¶ 9.) From March 6, 2005 to March 4, 2006, he received $19.94 per hour, or $797.60 per forty-hour workweek. (Id. at ¶ 10.) From March 6, 2006, to December 31, 2006, he was compensated at $20.54 per hour, or $821.60 per forty-hour workweek. (Id. at ¶ 11.)

Mr. Martin was employed by FedEx from April 1, 1985, to January 4, 2007. (Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 4.) His pay rate between December 10, 2004, and March 5, 2005, was $19.36 per hour, or $774.40 per forty-hour workweek. (Id. at ¶ 16.) Between March 6, 2005, and March 4, 2006, he earned $19.94 per hour, or $797.60 per forty-hour workweek. (Id. at ¶ 17.) Between March 6, 2006, and January 4, 2007, he received $20.54 per hour, or $821.60 per forty-hour workweek. (Id. at ¶ 18.)

Mr. DeFazio was employed by FedEx from October 2, 1982, to December 1, 2005. (Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 5.) His pay rate from December 10, 2004, to March 5, 2005, was $19.36 per hour, or $774.40 per forty-hour workweek. (Id. at ¶ 13.) Between March 5, 2005, and his retirement on December 1, 2005, he earned $19.94 per hour, or $797.60 per forty-hour workweek. (Id. at ¶ 14.)*fn2

Plaintiffs claim that they have not been paid for all hours worked when preforming pre-shift and post-shift work. (See Masterson, Martin & Defazio Declarations, Dkt. Entries 37-2 -4, at ¶ 5.) They further contend that the failure of FedEx to pay them for all work required of them violated the PMWA. Essentially, Plaintiffs claim that the PMWA required that they be paid the prevailing minimum wage for all time worked. Because pre- and post-shift time was not compensated, Plaintiffs claim that FedEx violated the PMWA. FedEx, on the other hand, argues that their can be no violation of the PMWA because Plaintiffs' compensation exceeded the minimum amount required to be paid based on a standard workweek, even after including the alleged uncompensated pre- and post-shift time. In other words, FedEx asserts that, because Plaintiffs' compensation exceeded the product of the total number of hours worked and the statutory minimum hourly rate, there can be no violation of the PMWA.

II. DISCUSSION

A. The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act

The pivotal question in this case is whether the workweek standard or the per-hour standard was contemplated by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in promulgating the PMWA.*fn3 FedEx advocates the workweek standard -- "dividing the employee's total earnings for the workweek by the compensable hours." (Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., Dkt. Entry 32, at 7-8.) This coincides with the week-by-week standard of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Plaintiffs, on the other hand, argue the per-hour standard should be applied -- "an employee must be paid at least the minimum wage rate for each hour worked." (Pls.' Mem. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J., Dkt. Entry 37, at 1-2.) If the workweek standard is applicable under the PMWA, then FedEx has not violated the PMWA and entry of summary judgment in its favor would be appropriate.*fn4 If the per-hour standard is applicable, however, then summary judgment in favor of FedEx would not be warranted.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly promulgated the PMWA with an objective to guard against wages that are "unreasonably low and not fairly commensurate with the value of the services rendered." 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. ยง 333.101. The General Assembly acted in order to protect occupations where "wages . . . are often found to bear no relation to the fair value of the ...


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