The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects employees in several different
ways such as providing that workers be paid minimum wage and non-exempt
employees be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half times their standard
rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40 in any one work week.
However, receiving these protections generally requires that you be an
“employee” and not an independent contractor or volunteer.
If you have any wage and hours questions, or are concerned that you are
not receiving the pay you are entitled to, it is a good idea to consult
with an experienced
Atlanta FLSA attorney to ensure right away to ensure you are being paid what you rightly deserve.
A recent case out of the 2d Circuit Court of Appeals looked closely at
the legal definition of when a worker should be considered a volunteer
or an employee for the purposes of the FLSA.
Brown v. New York City Board of Education, the 2d Circuit evaluated the duties and activities provided by a school
worker. These included a variety of services including lunchtime supervision,
detention, parent contact and student escort services. He also answered
phones and handed out reports cards and progress reports, as well as student
The worker’s occasional requests for a paid position were denied
due to alleged budget constraints and his lack of a higher education degree.
He then sued the school alleging violations of the FLSA, specifically
that he was entitled to be paid for his services. Although federal law
doesn’t specifically define “volunteer,” the Department
of Labor provides the following guidance:
A volunteer is a person that performs services for a public agency •
for a civic, charitable or humanitarian purpose • has not been promised
or does not expect or receive compensation for the services rendered;
• performs such work freely and without pressure or coercion, direct
or implied, from such employer; and • is not otherwise employed by
the public agency to perform the same type of services for which the individual
Further, no restrictions exist on the types of services that one can volunteer
to perform. For example, an agency can pay expenses, reasonable benefits
and a nominal fee for services (or a combination of all 3) without jeopardizing
the individual’s volunteer status. In this situation, the court
determined that the worker was a volunteer – but strictly limited
its decision to public sector workers. Employers in the private sector
who wish to categorize employees as “volunteers” are under
stricter scrutiny to make sure they follow the letter of the law.
For more information or if you have any question concerning wage and hour
laws, or believe that you may not have received all the wages you deserve,
please contact the top
Atlanta wage and hour attorneys at The Buckley Law Firm, LLP for an immediate consultation.