Circuit Court for Prince George's County Case No.
Arthur, Reed, Zarnoch, Robert A. (Senior Judge, Specially
Assigned), JJ. [*]
Md. Code (1991, 2016 Repl. Vol., Supp. 2019), § 3-415 of
the Labor and Employment Article ("LE"), "each
employer shall pay an overtime wage of at least 1.5 times the
usual hourly wage." This case presents the question of
how the overtime wage is computed when an employee is not
paid by the hour.
Leonard Poe was employed by appellee IESI MD Corp., a
trash-hauling business. IESI paid Poe a "day rate"
- i.e., it paid him a specified amount of money per day
rather than per hour of work. Day-rate compensation is common
in the trash-hauling industry, because it motivates employees
to work quickly and efficiently: the sooner the employees
finish the job, the greater their rate of pay.
Poe worked more than 40 hours in a week, he was entitled to
overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29
U.S.C. §§ 201-219, and the Maryland Wage and Hour
Law, LE §§ 3-401 to -431. IESI computed Poe's
overtime compensation by employing 29 C.F.R. § 778.112,
a longstanding federal regulation that dictates the method
for computing overtime compensation for day-rate employees
under federal law.
disputed IESI's calculations. He filed suit, claiming
that the federal regulation was inconsistent with the
Maryland Wage and Hour Law and that, in relying on the
federal regulation, IESI had understated the amount of
overtime compensation that he was due under State law. The
Circuit Court for Prince George's County granted
IESI's motion for summary judgment.
circuit court placed its decision on two grounds. First, the
court reasoned that the federal regulation is consistent with
Maryland law. Second, the court reasoned that, under the
so-called Motor Carrier Act exemption in LE §
3-415(b)(1), the Maryland Wage and Hour Law did not apply to
appealed. He presents the following questions:
1. Did the trial court err by granting summary judgment
against Mr. Poe based upon a federal Department of Labor
regulation permitting the payment of a "half-time"
overtime rate, where Mr. Poe brings no claim under federal
law, and where Maryland law mandates that non-exempt
employees like Mr. Poe shall receive 1.5 times their
regular rate of pay for overtime hours?
2. Did the trial court err by granting summary judgment
against Mr. Poe based upon the application of the Motor
Carrier Act exemption to the Maryland Wage and Hour Law,
where Mr. Poe did not engage in any interstate commerce
during the relevant time period, or where any interstate
activity was de minimis?
shall affirm the judgment on the ground that IESI's
computation of Poe's overtime compensation did not
violate the Maryland Wage and Hour Law. We do not reach the
separate question of whether IESI is immune from the Maryland
Wage and Hour Law under the Motor Carrier Act exemption.
party moves for summary judgment, the court "shall enter
judgment in favor of or against the moving party if the
motion and response show that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and that the party in whose favor
judgment is entered is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Md. Rule 2-501(f). In this case, the parties
appear to agree that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact. Consequently, the only issue before us is
whether the circuit court correctly concluded that IESI was
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. "[T]his Court
conducts a de novo review to determine whether the circuit
court's conclusions were legally correct." Trim
v. YMCA of Cent. Maryland, 233 Md.App. 326, 332 (2017).
Pertinent Statutes and Regulations
Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act. Among its many
achievements, the Act created a federal right to overtime
compensation for certain employees who were engaged in
interstate commerce. At present, that right is expressed in
29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(2)(C), which generally prohibits an
employer from employing an employee for a workweek longer
than 40 hours "unless such employee receives
compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above
specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the
regular rate at which he is employed." "The statute
contains no definition of regular rate of pay and no rule for
its determination." Bay Ridge Operating Co. v.
Aaron, 334 U.S. 446, 460 (1948).
§ 3-415(a) states the general rule for overtime
compensation under Maryland law: "Except as otherwise
provided in this section, each employer shall pay an overtime
wage of at least 1.5 times the usual hourly wage, computed in
accordance with § 3-420 of this subtitle." LE
§ 3-420(a) instructs us that, "[e]xcept as
otherwise provided in this section, an employer shall compute
the wage for overtime under § 3-415 of this subtitle on
the basis of each hour over 40 hours that an employee works
during 1 workweek." Read together, the two Maryland
statutes generally require employers to pay an overtime wage
equal to "at least 1.5 times the usual hourly wage"
for "each hour over 40 hours that an employee