Helix Energy Sol. Grp., Inc. v. Hewitt

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: February 22, 2023
  • Case #: 21–984
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: KAGAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, SOTOMAYOR, BARRETT, and JACKSON, JJ., joined. GORSUCH, J., filed a dissenting opinion. KAVANAUGH, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which ALITO, J., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

An employee is not considered salaried under 29 CFR §541.602(a) if his compensation is based on a daily rate. §541.604(b) allows an alternative for employees paid hourly or daily to qualify as salaried, but only if they also earn an additional guaranteed and predetermined weekly payment.

Michael Hewitt filed suit against Helix, his employer, seeking overtime pay under the Federal Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The district court granted Helix’s motion for summary judgment, finding Hewitt qualified as a “bona fide executive” under 29 CFR §541.602(a) and was therefore exempt from protection under the FLSA. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit reversed, finding that Hewitt was not exempt from overtime pay because he did not meet the salaried requirement since his pay was based on the amount of days he worked. Helix appealed, arguing that §602(a) allowed daily-rate employees to qualify as salaried when they received pay "on a weekly or monthly basis," and Hewitt received his pay weekly. Additionally, Helix argued that Hewitt qualified as "salaried" under §541.604(b) because his pay exceeded the stipulated statutory amount, which applied to the actual amount earned. The Court held that Hewitt did not qualify  as a “bona fide executive” and was eligible for overtime pay under the FLSA. The Court reasoned that §602(a)’s requirement that the employee receive compensation on a “weekly basis” referred to how the compensation was calculated, not to the frequency of the payments’ issuance. Further, §604(b) still required that the employee be paid a base, guaranteed salary, which Hewitt was not. AFFIRMED.

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