As we wrap up summer and start returning from vacations, there are several important Second Circuit FLSA decisions decided over the last few weeks that employers need to be aware of. I’ll cover them in posts over the next few days.
Earlier this summer, the Second Circuit (which is the appeals court for the federal courts in Connecticut) ruled that a supermarket chain CEO could be held individually liable for wage & hour claims brought by employees. The Court ruled that the CEO was an “employer” within the meaning of the FLSA.
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that, in certain circumstances, an individual may be considered an “employer” under the FLSA and, consequently, held personally liable for violations of the statute. Further, the court found those circumstances existed with respect to [the CEO] because, among other things: (a) he “was active in running [the company], including contact with individual stores, employees, vendors, and customers”; (b) he was ultimately responsible for the employees’ wages and signed their paychecks; and (c) he supervised other managerial personnel, such as the CFO and COO of [the company].
Individual liability under Connecticut wage & hour law has long since been a factor, so it remains to be seen whether this case will have a dramatic impact on FLSA in Connecticut (as opposed to New York). Nevertheless, the case should be a wake-up call to CEOs in Connecticut — you may be a target in the next wage-and-hour claim against your company.