Although applicability of the Motor Carrier Act (MCA) exemption from overtime is predicated on “interstate commerce,” interstate commerce can include wholly intrastate travel by a covered employee when shipped in a “practical continuity of movement” across state lines. A new opinion highlights this doctrine. Kennedy v. Equity Transp. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143565 (N.D.N.Y Oct. 22, 2015).
Plaintiff Kennedy was a shuttle driver for Equity Transportation Company, Inc. His primary duty was to drive and deliver trailers from a client’s facility in Latham, New York to a compound located at Exit 24 of the New York State Thruway. The trailers were ultimately taken from the Exit 24 compound to the client’s facilities in New Jersey, New England and Pennsylvania. On cross motions for summary judgment, the Court addressed whether Plaintiff was engaged in interstate commerce within the meaning of the MCA.
Observing that Plaintiff’s failure to engage in interstate travel was not dispositive because “the interstate commerce requirement is satisfied if the goods being transported within the borders of one State are involved in a practical continuity of movement in the flow of interstate commerce,” the court concluded that Plaintiff’s driving activity “was essentially one leg of a route to an out of state destination.” Therefore, the MCA applied and excluded Plaintiff from the FLSA’s overtime requirement.
Employers covered by the MCA must analyze whether their employees’ work comes within the “flow of interstate commerce” under the MCA to determined FLSA compliance. State law, of course, must be separately analyzed.