Larie Bostain sued his employer, Food Express, Inc., for failing to pay him for overtime that he worked as an interstate trucker, driving to and from a terminal in Vancouver, Washington. Although he worked in excess of 40 hours per week, he did not work more than 40 hours per week within the state of Washington.?? The trial court granted summary judgment to Bostain awarding him $9,846 in unpaid overtime wages plus? prejudgment? interest? and? attorney? fees. Food Express appealed, and Bostain cross- appealed alleging that he should have been awarded more in attorney fees and double damages under RCW 49.52.070. ?Relying in part on two WACs, which state that overtime is based on the hours worked in Washington, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Bostain was not entitled to overtime pay. ?In turn, the Washington Supreme Court reversed the appellate court, holding that ?RCW 48.46.130(1) requires overtime compensation for interstate truckers. ?It makes no distinction between the hours spent driving in state and those spent driving outside Washington.??? ?The? Supreme? Court? noted? that ?the? purposes? of? the? MWA? would? be contravened if [its statement of purpose in] RCW 49.46.005 is construed to exempt Washington- based employees who work out of state.? The Supreme Court held that the two WACs conflicted with the plain language of the statute, so were invalid and not entitled to any deference. Similarly, the Court rejected a constitutional challenge alleging that the Commerce Clause precluded Washington from burdening interstate commerce by requiring a Washington employer to pay overtime to its interstate truckers. ?The Court also reversed the trial court?s reduction of about $7,000 in attorney fees based on ?its determination that there was a bona fide dispute as to whether Food Express was liable for overtime wages, the issues presented in this case are unsettled and are a matter of first impression, and the size of the award for overtime wages.??? None of these factors were proper to consider. ?The trial court was instructed that on remand it should determine whether a multiplier is appropriate.? ?However, the Court affirmed the trial court?s denial of double damages because the dispute was bona fide.?? Finally, the claim was properly deemed liquidated so the award of prejudgment interest was affirmed. ?The dissent contended that the MWA is ambiguous so the court should defer to the WACs, which the dissent claimed are consistent with the Act?s purpose ?to establish?? minimum?? standards?? of?? employment within the state of Washington.? ?RCW 48.46.005. Bostain v. Food Express, Inc., 159 Wn.2d 700, 153 P.3d 846 (2007)
Hours Worked Out-of-State by Washington Employees Count Toward Overtime Calculation.
Jan 1, 2007