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Antoinette Levitt v. Technical Education Services

August 7, 2012

ANTOINETTE LEVITT
PLAINTIFF
v.
TECHNICAL EDUCATION SERVICES, INC. DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joyner, C.J.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This employment discrimination/wage loss matter is now before the Court for adjudication of the parties' cross-motions for partial summary judgment as to Plaintiff's claims for unpaid overtime wages. For the reasons which follow, the Defendant's motion shall be granted and Plaintiff's motion denied.

Factual Background

Plaintiff Antoinette Levitt was employed by Defendant, Technical Education Services, Inc. ("TES") from November 2008 until her termination in February 2010.*fn1 This was the second employment relationship which Plaintiff had with AIM. Previously, she had served as the School Director from 2004-2007, and prior to that, was the school's owner until 1997.*fn2 She was terminated from her School Directorship position in early May, 2007. (N.T. Am. Compl., ¶s 10-12).

In August, 2008, Defendant offered Plaintiff a new position at the Philadelphia campus as the Northeast Director of Recruiting and Admissions. Plaintiff accepted the offer and began work in early November, 2008. (Def's Motion for Summary Judgment, Exhibit "D"). According to the offer letter, this would be a salaried position at the base rate of $52,000 annually with eligibility for a bonus of up to another $10,000 per year and Plaintiff's "major areas of responsibility would include recruiting of students, promotion of the school, interfacing with the aviation business community for appropriate joint projects and job placements, and related activities." (Id.; Def's Motion for Summary Judgment, Exhibit "E"). Plaintiff held this position until early February 2010*fn3 , when she was terminated for poor performance. (Pl's Am. Compl., ¶14; Def's Motion for Summary Judgment, Exhibit "I").

In addition to asserting a claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), Plaintiff's Amended Complaint avers that, notwithstanding Plaintiff's supervisory job title, she "only performed the same basic functions as other recruiters who were paid overtime compensation." (Am. Compl., ¶s 21-22). As a consequence, Plaintiff seeks to recover unpaid overtime wages pursuant to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §201, et. seq., the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act ("PMWA"), 43 P.S. §330.101, et. seq., and Wage Payment and Collection Law, ("WPCL"), 43 P.S. §260.1, et. seq. Defendant rejoins that, as Plaintiff was an exempt employee within the meaning of the statutes, she has no entitlement to overtime compensation.

Standards Applicable to Summary Judgment Motions

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a),

A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense - or the part of each claim or defense - on which summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The court should state on the record the reasons for granting or denying the motion.

It should be noted that an issue is genuine only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, and a factual dispute is material only if it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Bilibi v. Klein, No. 05-3496, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 20694 at *3, 249 Fed. Appx. 284, 286 (3d Cir. Aug. 29, 2007)(citing Kaucher v. County of Bucks, 455 F.3d 418, 423 (3d Cir. 2006)). See also, citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 91 L. Ed.2d 202 (1986). If the non-moving party bears the burden of persuasion at trial, "the moving party may meet its burden on summary judgment by showing that the nonmoving party's evidence is insufficient to carry that burden." Kaucher, supra, (quoting Wetzel v. Tucker, 139 F.3d 380, 383 n.2 (3d Cir. 1998)). In conducting our review, we view the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. See, Conoshenti v. Public Service Electric & Gas Co., 364 F.3d 135, 140 (3d Cir. 2004); Nicini v. Morra, 212 F.3d 798, 806 (3d Cir. 2000). "The mere existence of some evidence in support of the non-movant is insufficient to deny a motion for summary judgment; enough evidence must exist to enable a jury to reasonably find for the non-movant on the issue." Renchenski v. Williams, 622 F.3d 315, 324 (3d Cir. 2010)(quoting Giles v. Kearney, 571 F.3d 318, 322 (3d Cir. 2009); Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, Inc., 561 F.3d 233, 253 (3d Cir. 2009).

Discussion

As noted above, both Plaintiff and Defendant here are moving for the entry of judgment in their favor as a matter of law on Plaintiff's claims for unpaid overtime compensation under the FLSA and the Pennsylvania MWA and WPCL. "Congress enacted the FLSA in 1938 with the goal of "protecting all covered workers from substandard wages and oppressive working hours," and to that end, the FLSA "imposes minimum wage and maximum hours requirements on employers." Christopher v. Smithkline Beecham Corp., U.S. , 132 S. Ct. 2156, 2161, 2162, 183 L. Ed.2d 153, 164, 165 (2012)(quoting Barrentine v. Arkansas-Best Freight System, Inc., 450 U.S. 728, 739, 101 S. Ct. 1437, 67 L. Ed.2d 641 (1981)). In this regard, the FLSA reads as follows in pertinent part:

§ 207. Maximum hours

(a) Employees engaged in interstate commerce; additional applicability to employees pursuant to subsequent amendatory provisions.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no employer shall employ any of his employees who in any workweek is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, or is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed.

The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act is similar and it too, provides, in relevant part:

Employees shall be paid for overtime not less than one and one-half times the employe's regular rate as prescribed in regulations promulgated by the secretary: Provided, That students employed in seasonal occupations as defined and delimited by regulations promulgated by the secretary may, by such regulations, be excluded from the overtime provisions of this act: And provided further, That the secretary shall promulgate regulations with respect to overtime subject to the limitations that no pay for overtime in addition to the regular rate shall be required except for hours in excess of forty hours in a workweek.

43 P.S. §333.104©.

And, under Pennsylvania's Wage Payment and Collection Law, Every employer shall pay all wages, other than fringe benefits and wage supplements, due to his employes on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer. Overtime wages may be considered as wages earned and payable in the next succeeding pay period. All wages, other than fringe benefits and wage supplements, earned in any pay period shall be due and payable within the number of days after the expiration of said pay period as provided in a written contract of employment or, if not so ...


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