D.Minn.: Whether Defendant Is An “Employer” Under 216(b) Is Element Of The Claim, Not Jurisdictional

Saleen v. Waste Management, Inc.

Plaintiffs brought this action to recover overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. The matter was before the Court on the Defendant’s motion of to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. WMI argued that, because plaintiffs were employed by two of its subsidiaries, and not by Defendant itself, Defendant is not plaintiffs’ “employer” within the meaning of the FLSA. Defendant further argued that, because Defendant is not an “employer” within the meaning of the FLSA, the Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over this action. The Court disagreed with the latter argument, and thus the Court did not take up the former argument at this time.

The Court held that Defendant’s assertion that it is not an “employer” under the FLSA is a defense on the merits and not a challenge to subject-matter jurisdiction. Therefore, Defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction was denied.

The Court declined to treat Defendant’s motion as one for summary judgment, because plaintiffs had not yet had an opportunity to conduct discovery.

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