On June 20, 2019, the Massachusetts Superior Court for Suffolk County issued a major decision regarding the rights of amusement park workers to overtime pay.
We represent a class of approximately 10,000 seasonal Six Flags New England workers in a case for unpaid overtime. The Court issued a decision last week granting this class of workers summary judgment on their claims for 2015, 2017, and 2018. The Court decided in Six Flags favor for the years 2013, 2014, and 2016. Summary judgment is a procedure that the Court can use to decide a case that only hinges on a legal interpretation when the parties agree on the material facts.
In this case, Six Flags claimed an exemption under the Overtime Law for amusement parks that do not operate more than 150 days in a year. We argued that Six Flags routinely operates more than 150 days in a year and therefore did not meet its burden to prove an entitlement to the exemption.
Crucial to the Court’s decision were the days in 2017 and 2018 during which Six Flags operated “Holiday in the Park,” a Christmas-themed version of the park’s normal activities. While the park claimed that Holiday in the Park was an attraction separate from the park’s normal activities, we argued and the Court agreed that all Holiday in the Park days counted towards the operating day limit, pushing 2017 and 2018 past the amusement park exemption threshold.
Six Flags also argued that it should be permitted to count some operating days as “partial days” for the purposes of keeping the total at 150 or fewer days, but the Court disagreed stating, “the statutory exemption says nothing about counting hours, or treating shorter days as less than a calendar day.”. The Court therefore denied Six Flags the exemption for 2015, while upholding it for 2013-2014 and 2016.
This case began in early 2016, so we are pleased to have finally secured this victory on behalf of thousands of park employees who work hundreds of hours of overtime for the park without the benefit of overtime pay for their labor. You can read the full decision here:
Feel free to contact us if you work in excess of 40 hours a week and are not paid overtime. An overtime exemption could apply to your work, but not every employer exemption is valid.