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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Employer victorious in Maryland overtime pay dispute

State Court

By William Sassani | Dec 4, 2019


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Legal Newsline) – The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has affirmed the decision of a lower court’s ruling that IESI MD Corp. be awarded summary judgment in an overtime pay dispute with an employee.

In the 17-page ruling issued Nov. 20, Judge Kevin Arthur wrote that plaintiff Leonard Poe had argued that since Maryland had not specifically adopted a federal law concerning overtime wage calculation, “Maryland law prohibits the use of that formula.” 

"He is incorrect," Arthur wrote. "The federal regulation interprets the requirements of a federal statute that parallels a Maryland statute on exactly the same subject. The federal regulation, therefore, informs the analysis of what the Maryland statute means."

Also, Poe alleged that “Maryland law cannot parallel the federal regulation because Maryland has no comparable regulation,” the ruling states. Yet, Arthur said that it was “unnecessary” for the state to “adopt a regulation that duplicates the federal regulation for the federal regulation to assist in the interpretation of what Maryland law requires.”

Additionally, the judge said it was “highly debatable” as to whether the Commissioner of Labor and Industry is prohibited from adopting a regulation similar to the federal rule because the General Assembly has not authorized the Commissioner to do so.

“Poe is circumspect about his alternative method for computing overtime compensation and about how it comports with the Maryland statutes and regulations,” Arthur wrote. “In one instance, he inflates his ‘total compensation’ by including the disputed amount of overtime compensation that the employer already paid.” 

In this situation, this amounted to Poe granting “himself overtime on overtime,” the ruling states.

Poe, an employee with IESI, was paid a day rate instead of an hourly rate. He sued the trash-hauling company because he felt that they had not correctly calculated overtime pay after Poe had worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Poe argued that, in using federal law versus state law to determine overtime pay, “IESI had understated the amount of overtime compensation that he was due under state law.”

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