Pili v. Patel

Employees of a hotel in Richmond have plausibly alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including that the defendant is a covered enterprise and that an employment relationship existed.

The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs performed various tasks for the hotel’s benefit in exchange for living in the hotel without paying the room rate. Under the factors of the economic-reality test, the plaintiffs sufficiently allege that the defendant had the power to hire and fire them, supervised and controlled their conditions of employment, determined the rate and method of payment, and “could have” maintained employment records “if they chose to do so.” The defendant’s failure to keep records does not excuse liability. The complaint also adequately alleges FLSA retaliation in the form of post-reporting accusations of theft and property damage.

Sanctions against the plaintiffs are not justified by their use of the documented accusations to add the retaliation claim. No disclaimer or other evidence suggests that the document was tendered confidentially or “for settlement purposes only.”

Defendant’s motion to dismiss and motion for sanctions denied.

Pili v. Patel, No. 3:18cv317, Jan. 11, 2019. EDVA at Richmond (Lauck).



Categories: Opinions, U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Virginia

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