Brief - Brock
v Carrion (2004)
Brock v. Carrion (2004)
332 F.Supp.2d 1320
May an employer offset their minimum wage obligation owed
to a resident apartment manager with the value of lodging
without a voluntary written agreement that specifically mentions
a "minimum wage" credit?
No. Under California law, Brock was a resident apartment manager
who was not paid at least minimum wages for all hours worked,
Thus, the owners of apartment complex were not entitled to
offset against the unpaid minimum wages owed for cost of lodging
provided to him. This was because the owners used manager's
apartment as a credit against all wages, not just specifically
"minimum wage." Furthermore, the manager received
absolutely no monetary compensation for his work, just a "free"
Carrion owned a 22-unit apartment complex called Sunrise Village
Apartments in Norther California. For approximately two years,
Brock worked for defendants as a resident apartment where
his duties included, but were not limited to, "showing
vacancies, completing resident applications, collecting rent,
keeping reports on rents, preparing late notices, enforcing
rules, bookkeeping, cleaning apartments and entrances, policing
the premises, maintaining the property, cleaning up trash
... and other similar and related job duties."
Under the terms of the Resident Apartment Manager Employment
Agreement, Carrion agreed to pay Brock $550.00 per month for
his duties as apartment manager, and Brock agreed to pay Carrion
$550.00 per month as rent for an on-site apartment. In fact,
Brock did not receive any compensation for completing his
regular managerial tasks; he was simply not asked to pay for
the apartment in which he resided.
Brock brought action against his employers, alleging violations
of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California labor
laws, and seeking damages in form of allegedly unpaid minimum
wages and overtime wages.
of Law to Facts:
First, the court questioned whether the employer was excepted
from their record-keeping requirement. Here, the employee
just did his job. The employer made no efforts to record the
hours worked. The court found that the Owner of the apartment
complex was not excepted from the record-keeping requirements.
Next, the court found that owners of apartment complex, who
failed to produce records or other credible evidence, failed
to sustain their burden of proving "reasonable costs"
of furnishing lodging to resident apartment manager, and thus,
owners were not entitled to offset against allegedly unpaid
minimum wages and overtime wages owed manager.
Finally, the court found Under California law, Brock was a
resident apartment manager who was not paid at least minimum
wages for all hours worked, Thus, the owners of apartment
complex were not entitled to offset against the unpaid minimum
wages owed for cost of lodging provided to him. This was because
the owners used manager's apartment as a credit against all
wages, not just specifically "minimum wage."