A federal appeals board overturned a lower court decision Thursday, arguing that workers on special vessels were not seafarers and therefore should have been paid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Lafayette, Louisiana-based All Coast LLC owns and operates a fleet of self-propelled, self-propelled offshore delivery vessels called lift boats, according to Thursday's decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in William Adams v. All Coast LLC.
All Coast did not pay the complainants who worked on the lifting boats overtime because they classified them as sailors, who are exempt from overtime. rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act. By law, workers must be paid at least one and a half hours if they work more than 40 hours per week.
Mr. Adams brought an action against the company on behalf of himself and other workers, claiming that "his main duty had nothing to do with maritime work", the decision said.
Instead, "he spent much of his time operating a hydraulic crane to move personnel and equipment between the lift boat and the pier, workplace platforms at sea and other ships as well as on the lift boat itself," the decision states.
the U.S. District Court in New Orleans granted All Coast a summary judgment in dismissed the case and held the workers had been classified exactly as seafarers because the lifting boat's crane operation was a "service provided primarily as an aid in operating such a vessel as a means of transportation. . "
The verdict was overturned by a unanimous panel of three judges, who said that the decision of the lower court" is contrary to the language of regulation and our decisions that interpret it. "
"By the clear language of the Regulation, when the crew assists in loading or unloading or with" mainly industrial "tasks, that part of their time is not the work of the seaman. The record shows that the plaintiffs spent a great deal of time doing just that," it said.
"Nor does the ordinance propose anything unique about the plaintiffs' loading and unloading that would lead us to a different conclusion," it stated
"Our previous decisions only reinforce" the conclusion that the workers were not sailors, according to the decision reversed the district court and remanded the goal of further negotiations.
Lawyers in the case did not respond to a request for comment.