Commerce

Also referred to as interstate commerce. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act ( www.practicallaw.com/5-501-9884) (FLSA), any work involving or related to the movement of persons or things (including intangibles, such as information) across state lines or from foreign countries.

The FLSA provides for two different ways employees may be protected, both of which involve interstate commerce:

  • Enterprise coverage.

  • Individual coverage.

If enterprise coverage applies, all employees working for the business are covered by the FLSA, regardless of whether they engage in interstate commerce. Enterprise coverage requires that the business:

  • Is involved in interstate commerce.

  • Has a gross annual revenue of at least $500,000.

Even if enterprise coverage does not apply, employees whose work affects interstate commerce still may be protected under the FLSA's individual coverage provisions. Congress and the DOL have interpreted "interstate commerce" broadly and individual coverage applies to employees who, for example:

  • Load, unload, or use products arriving from out of state.

  • Accept or process payments from out-of-state customers, banks, or credit card issuers.

  • Produce goods to be sent out of state, such as:

    • a worker on a factory assembly line; or

    • a secretary typing letters in an office.

  • Regularly make telephone calls or send emails to people in other states.

  • Handle records of interstate transactions.

  • Travel to other states as part of their job.

  • Do janitorial work in buildings where goods are produced for shipment outside the state.

(29 U.S.C. § 203; 29 C.F.R. §§ 776.7 to 776.13.)

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