Ellis v J.R.’s Country Stores, Inc.

Ellis sued Stores alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act based on a one time deduction form her pay while working as a manger. The district court granted summary judgment to Stores and the panel affirmed. It held that the evidence demonstrated that Stores intended to pay Ellis as an exempt manager as she had a set salary independent of hours worked. The panel noted that requiring Ellis to work 50 hours a week was permissible and that she knew it was required when she started. The panel also held that a onetime improper deduction fell in a safe harbor provision as it was literally the only time Stores appears to have made such a deduction for failing to work 50 hours and it was reimbursed tenfold. The panel also held that there was no abuse in discretion in denying for further discovery as Ellis failed to demonstrate any need for further discovery and the desired fishing expedition into Stores practice as to other employees was unwarranted given Ellis was the only plaintiff and all the relevant facts were before the district court.