Armento v. Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, Inc
|Case Link||View Now|
|Opinion Filed||April 21, 2021|
|Attorney for the Case||Carol Brook Clermont Ripley|
|Amicus Brief Writers||Kevin Murphy Travis Payne|
|Court||4th Circuit Court of Appeals|
The plaintiff is asking the 4th Circuit to interpret the North Carolina Wage Hour Act. The NCWHA is very similar to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and judges often use case law from the FLSA to guide interpretation of the NCWHA. NCAJ’s amicus could educate the Court about the interaction between the two statutes, the background and policy behind the NCWHA, and any ways in which the WDNC decision might diverge from current NC case law. We want the court to get the law right, and this is an area where our members’ expertise would be valuable.
The situation of a worker performing the same tasks, but being treated as an unpaid volunteer and a paid employee for different hours/shifts, is one that is appearing more frequently at drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, volunteer fire departments, and nonprofits similar to the defendant here. The plain language of the NCWHA prohibits an employee from doing the same tasks as both an employee (protected by the NCWHA) and a volunteer (without protections like minimum wage), but judges often struggle with these scenarios. Employees, especially those of vulnerable populations like the plaintiff and those at rehab centers, cannot—and should not be permitted to—waive their right to receive minimum wage. An amicus brief could propose the proper framework and provide the Court with additional context about the impact of their decision.