Dedicated wage-and-hour practitioners, like many attorneys, will often find wage-and-hour issues to analyze in everyday life. Take, for example, this recent article regarding former Fenway Park fixture and local legend the “Crunch ‘n Munch” guy. The article, in addition to providing the back story behind his meteoric rise to local sports stardom (and drastically increased compensation), mentions in passing that, as a Fenway Park hawker, he was paid commission and tips. This leads wage-and-hour attorneys to question whether he received premium overtime for hours in excess of 40 or whether, perhaps, he was paid pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 207(i) and not due overtime pay. Of course, it is also possible that his employer was not required to pay him overtime based on its being a seasonal or recreational establishment within the meaning of the FLSA. Jeffrey v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590 (11th Cir. 1995).
That such highly technical questions can arise from an off-hand reference in an article about an individual’s first employment nearly a decade ago is not atypical; wage-and-hour law remains one of the more intricate and subtle areas of the law impacting nearly all employers. And, with the continued exposure to class and collective action claims (offers of judgment and other defenses notwithstanding), it is an area where compliance and preventive practices remain paramount.