The FLSA generally governs only the payment of minimum wages and overtime. It does not govern unpaid wage claims that do not result in a minimum wage or overtime violation—e.g., a claim brought by an employee that he worked 39 hours, but was only paid for 35 (sometimes referred to as a “gap time” claim). As long as the total wages paid by the employer equal or exceed the minimum wage for all hours worked, there is no minimum wage FLSA violation. A new case joins those rejecting these so-called “gap time” claims. Campbell v. Cnty. of Monmouth, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75176 (D.N.J. June 10, 2015).
Plaintiff Campbell was a registered nurse earning $33.61 per hour at a care center operated by Defendant county. The parties did not dispute that “[p]laintiff never worked overtime and that she never fell below the minimum wage, even accounting for Plaintiff’s allegedly unpaid lunchtime work.” She nevertheless continued to pursue an FLSA claim based on these allegedly unpaid lunches, which the Court indicated “appears to be for ‘gap time,’ that is, uncompensated non-overtime hours worked where the wage averaged across all hours worked remains above minimum wage.” Noting that the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has rejected the gap time theory, the Court granted judgment to Defendant on the FLSA claim.
The volume of FLSA litigation remains high, and employers are often required to defend cases that still challenge basic principles under the FLSA.