United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE
Matthew Ward worked as a Regional Loss Prevention
Investigator (“RLPI”) for Defendant Hat World
Inc. He alleges that Defendant owes him and his fellow former
RLPIs unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards
Act of 1938 (the “FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201
et seq. (Compl. ¶ 1.3, ECF No. 1-2.) The
Court conditionally certified this opt-in collective action
under the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), and six additional
plaintiffs have joined. (See ECF Nos. 59, 63, 65,
66, 69, 71, 77.) Defendant moves for summary judgment,
(Def.’s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 108), and Plaintiff
moves for partial summary judgment, (Pl.’s Mot. Summ.
J., ECF No. 110). At issue is whether Plaintiffs were
employed in a bona fide administrative capacity and exempt
from the FLSA’s overtime requirement.
56(a) provides that “[t]he court shall grant summary
judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In
considering a motion for summary judgment, the district court
“must construe all the facts and reasonable inferences
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.”
Monroe v. Ind. Dep’t of Transp., 871 F.3d 495,
503 (7th Cir. 2017). However, the district court must also
view the evidence “through the prism of the substantive
evidentiary burden, ” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254 (1986), and does not draw
“inferences that are supported by only speculation or
conjecture, ” Singer v. Raemisch, 593 F.3d
529, 533 (7th Cir. 2010). To withstand a properly supported
motion for summary judgment, the nonmovants “must do
more than raise some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts; [they] must come forward with specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id.
“Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party,
” summary judgment should be granted. Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
FLSA requires employers to pay overtime wages for any hours
worked in excess of 40 per week. But employers need not pay
overtime to workers “employed in a bona fide executive,
administrative, or professional capacity.” 29 U.S.C.
§ 213(a)(1). Congress has delegated the Secretary of
Labor to define “bona fide administrative
capacity.” Id. Department of Labor regulations
provide that a worker is employed in an administrative
capacity only if the worker is paid more than $455 per week
and his primary duty is “the performance of office or
non-manual work directly related to the management or general
business operations of the employer or the employer’s
customers, ” 29 C.F.R. § 541.200(a)(2), and
“includes the exercise of discretion and independent
judgment with respect to matters of significance, ”
id. § 541.200(a)(3).
employer bears the burden to establish that an employee falls
within the FLSA’s administrative exemption.
Roe-Midgett v. CC Servs., Inc., 512 F.3d 865, 869
(7th Cir. 2008). Determining whether the exemption applies
“requires a thorough, fact-intensive analysis of the
employee’s employment duties and
responsibilities.” Schaefer-LaRose v. Eli Lilly
& Co., 679 F.3d 560, 572 (7th Cir. 2012). “It
is those day-to-day duties on which a proper analysis under
the FLSA rests, not merely the parties’
characterizations of those duties as involving discretion or
not.” Id. at 580.
undisputed here that Plaintiffs were each paid more than $455
per week. At issue in this case are the regulation’s
two “primary duty” requirements. Specifically,
the parties dispute whether RLPIs’ primary duty is (1)
“office or non-manual work directly related to the
management or general business operations” of Defendant
and (2) “includes the exercise of discretion and
independent judgment with respect to matters of
Primary Duty: The Character of the RLPIs’ Job as a
of Labor regulations define “primary duty” as
“the principal, main, major or most important duty that
the employee performs.” 29 C.F.R. § 541.700(a).
The inquiry is holistic, considering “all the facts in
a particular case, with the major emphasis on the character
of the employee’s job as a whole.” Id.
Relevant factors include the relative importance of the
exempt duties, the amount of time spent on exempt work, and
the employee’s freedom from direct supervision.
Hat World Inc. sells hats, apparel, accessories, and
novelties at more than 1, 000 “Lids” locations
across the United States and Canada. (Campbell Decl. ¶
4, ECF No. 4; see also Wagner Dep. 19:8–13,
ECF No. 109-13.) In retail, “shrink” refers to
the difference between the amount of cash or inventory
reflected in the company’s records and the actual
amount of cash or inventory on hand. (Campbell Dep.
70:2–8, 74:17–75:8, ECF No. 111-2; Marshall Dep.
196:5–14; Watson Dep. 79:11– 80:5.) The most
common causes of shrink are external theft, internal theft,
and administrative error. (Campbell Dep. 70:9–12.)
Operations Division runs its retail stores. Its Loss
Prevention Division assists the Operations Division by
detecting shrink, identifying the causes of shrink,
recovering as much shrink as possible, and taking corrective
or preventative actions to prevent future losses. (Campbell
Dep. 74:17–75:8.) As part of its Loss Prevention
Division, Defendant employs 10 to 16 Regional Loss Prevention
Investi- gators, (Campbell Decl. ¶ 4.), with
each RLPI responsible for a ...