Fair Labor Standards Act 2019
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THIS CASEBOOK contains a selection of U. S. Court of Appeals decisions that analyze, interpret and apply provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
"The Supreme Court has instructed the courts to construe the terms 'employee' and 'employer' expansively under the FLSA." Vanskike v. Peters, 974 F.2d 806, 807 (7th Cir. 1992) (citing Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Darden, 503 U.S. 318, 326, 112 S.Ct. 1344, 117 L.Ed.2d 581 (1992)). The conclusion of whether an individual qualifies as an employee under the Act requires an examination of the totality of the circumstances, with the ultimate goal of determining the "economic reality of the working relationship." Id. at 808 (citations omitted). The FLSA considers employees those "who as a matter of economic reality are dependent upon the business to which they render service." Lauritzen, 835 F.2d at 1534 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
In Lauritzen, we compiled a list of factors "to assist in determining the true nature of the relationship," while explaining that "no criterion is by itself, or by its absence, dispositive or controlling." Id. at 1534. It is also important to note that the Lauritzen factors are not the exclusive means by which the ultimate determination can be made. See, e.g., Berger v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 843 F.3d 285, 291 (7th Cir. 2016) ("We have declined to apply multifactor tests in the employment setting when they 'fail to capture the true nature of the relationship' between the alleged employee and the alleged employer.") (quoting Vanskike, 974 F.2d at 809). Instead, the inquiry is aimed at determining the economic reality of the working relationship by examining the totality of the circumstances. Id. at 290.
Simpkins v. DuPage Housing Authority, 893 F. 3d 962 (7th Cir. 2018)