Hawaii Employment Law Decisions November 12, 2017 to November 18, 2017 – Jeffrey S. Harris and Rachel K.H. Miyashiro

Minimum wage requirement applies to workweek as a whole. District Court properly concluded employer complied with federal minimum wage requirement by paying minimum wage for workweek as a whole.  Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers to pay less than the minimum wage for some hours during a workweek, so long as they pay more than the minimum wage for other hours and the average rate satisfies the minimum wage for the whole week.  Douglas v. Xerox Bus. Servs., LLC, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22967 (9th Cir. Nov. 15, 2017).

Company officers not individually liable for alleged delinquent contributions, based on allegations.  District Court dismissed claims that trust funds company officers were individually liable for company’s failure to make trust fund contributions because alleged unpaid contributions are not plan assets from which fiduciary duties flow.  Even if a contractual exception existed, the plan documents did not specifically define the unpaid contributions as plan assets.  The trust funds did not sufficiently allege the officers were alter egos of the company, but the Court gave them leave to amend their complaint to clarify the basis for their claims.  Haw. Masons’ Pension Trust Fund v. Global Stone Haw., Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188771 (D. Haw. Nov. 13, 2017).

Note: We analyze cases to learn rules courts will follow or disappoint us if they do not. Rules courts follow allow us to behave and provide explanations they accept. Competent advocates may limit the rules to the facts of the case that discuss them, or expand the rules by showing differences in other cases are irrelevant.