In re Raymour & Flanigan Furniture, 405 N.J. Super. 367 (App. Div., March 2, 2009) – The Appellate Division recently addressed whether a retail business is exempt under the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law from paying overtime under the trucking industry exemption to employees working from service and distribution centers. The employer claimed the customer service and distribution centers primarily operate to store and deliver goods, and are separate from the retail showrooms and overall business, thereby qualifying it as a “trucking industry employer” vis-à-vis the employees working at those facilities.
The Appellate Division disagreed. Relying heavily upon the fundamental tenets of statutory construction, and the intended “humanitarian” purpose of the wage and hour laws, the court found that extending the exemption in this manner would be contrary to the purpose of the wage and hour legislation and would unfairly permit retail businesses to avoid paying appropriate overtime simply by locating the storage and delivery aspects of their businesses in separate buildings.
Note: This article was published in the April 2009 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.