The Second Circuit recently ruled that a plaintiff must plead a claim for failure to pay overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with some specificity. According to the court, plaintiffs are “required to do more than repeat the language of the statute.”
In Dejesus v. HF Management Services, the plaintiff filed a complaint alleging, generally, that she worked over forty hours in “some or all weeks” of her employment and was not compensated for overtime. The employer filed a motion to dismiss with the District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The court found that Dejesus failed to sufficiently plead that she was an employee as defined by the FLSA and also that she had actually worked overtime but had not been paid accordingly.
In a published opinion, the Second Circuit affirmed this decision, noting that the plaintiff failed to estimate the hours she worked in any week or to provide any other factual support for her claim. Rather, she merely “rephrase[ed] the FLSA’s formulation” set forth in the statute. The court ruled her blanket assertion that she worked overtime in “some or all weeks” was insufficient to state a claim.
As highlighted in the opinion, this is the third case the Second Circuit has decided recently regarding the requirements for asserting a claim under the FLSA. This is a positive ruling for employers as complaints will need to include specific allegations with respect to the amount of overtime at issue in order to avoid dismissal. The decision may help weed out frivolous claims and could also result in quicker resolutions of potentially meritorious claims since complaints will better inform defendants about potential liability.