United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
ESSIE TERRELL, et al. Plaintiffs,
FIRST STUDENT MANAGEMENT LLC and FIRST STUDENT, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
are 236 school bus drivers and assistants who bring this
action on behalf of themselves and a similarly situated class
of plaintiffs against their employer, First Student
Management LLC and its parent corporation, First Student,
Inc. (collectively “First Student”). Plaintiffs
allege that defendant First Student violated provisions of
the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), et
seq. (“FLSA”) and the Missouri Minimum Wage
Law, § 290.500 RSMo, et seq.. Defendants have
moved to dismiss, and the matter has now been fully briefed.
to the complaint, defendant employed the plaintiff school bus
drivers and driver assistants during and before 2013.
Plaintiffs transported students to local municipal schools
and to extracurricular activities. Defendant owns and
operates 27 “bus yards” in Missouri.
Plaintiffs' four counts include the following:
Count I: FLSA - Claim for Unpaid Time at Regular Rate of Pay
allege that drivers arrive at the bus yard at 7:30 a.m. for
morning runs and 1:30 p.m. for afternoon runs. Drivers and
their assistants receive their route assignment and keys and
proceed to their busses. Drivers log into the
“EVIR” system with their employee badge, and at
this time the employee begins receiving compensation.
Plaintiffs estimate that six minutes elapse on average
between reporting for work and logging into the EVIR system,
and plaintiffs are not paid for the “preliminary
activities” that occur during those six minutes. When
drivers return to the lot after their bus runs, they are
required to log into the EVIR system to go “off the
clock” and then perform a post-trip inspection of their
vehicle, clean out the bus, perform a “sleeping
child” inspection, report any issues or problems, and
return their equipment. Plaintiffs estimate that six minutes
of uncompensated “postliminary activities” occur
before they may leave. In addition, plaintiffs allege they
are not paid for their time actually worked if the time it
takes for them to perform their bus route exceeds a given
threshold. Plaintiffs further allege they were not paid for
“dead time, ” or the gap between the end of a
regular run and a charter run. Plaintiffs state they would
sometimes be paid for a charter run on a later pay period to
avoid overtime payments. They claim that plaintiffs are
entitled to be paid for all “straight time”
worked during weeks their hours exceeded 40 hours and that
First Student refused to do so in violation of the FLSA.
Count II: FLSA - Overtime Claims
allege that, in an effort to avoid paying overtime, defendant
under-reports the time actually worked by employees.
Defendant achieves this by dividing plaintiffs' time
worked into “Regular” and “Charter
Rate” categories as explained above and pays overtime
only if more than 40 hours are worked in a particular
category. Plaintiffs claim defendant fails to pay proper
overtime amounts for weeks in which employees worked more
than 40 hours in violation of the FLSA.
Count III: MMWL - Straight Time Claim
allegations in Count III merely state that they are entitled
to the protections of the MMWL, § 290.500 RSMo, et
seq., that First Student meets the definition of an
“employer, ” that the plaintiffs were not exempt
from the MMWL overtime wage and other obligations, that First
Student failed to keep accurate records of hours worked, and
First Student willfully violated the statute. They allege
defendant failed to pay plaintiffs for time spent working,
including preliminary activities, postliminary activities,
and “dead time.” Further, they allege defendant
failed to pay for all straight time worked.
Count IV: MMWL - Overtime Claim
allege that they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek
without being compensated at overtime rates required by
§ 290.505 RSMo. Plaintiff further allege they were not
exempt from those overtime requirements. They claim defendant
First Student violated the MMWL as a result.
have moved to dismiss all of ...