United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Thomas M. Durkin United States District Judge
Guon alleges that her former employers, John Q. Cook, M.D.
LLC (“Cook”) and Marketstaff, Inc., failed to
compensate her for any overtime work between January 2010 and
January 2016, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law. R. 1.
Defendants have moved to dismiss her claims for failure to
state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). R. 9. For the following reasons, the motion to
dismiss is denied.
12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the
complaint. See, e.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of
Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir.
2009). A complaint must provide “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), sufficient to
provide defendant with “fair notice” of the claim
and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This standard “demands more
than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). While “detailed factual allegations”
are not required, “labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The
complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
“‘A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.'” Mann v.
Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). In applying this standard,
the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws
all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Mann, 707 F.3d at 877.
a private medical practice. R. 1 ¶ 4. Marketstaff is a
human resources organization that provides management
services to Cook and its employees. Id. ¶ 6.
Guon worked as a patient care coordinator at Cook from
January 2010 to January 2016. Id. ¶ 2. She
alleges that “Defendants jointly participated in [her]
hiring, determined [her] conditions of employment, and
decided [her] compensation.” Id. ¶ 12.
Guon makes no other allegations regarding her relationship
with either Cook or Marketstaff.
alleges that she was entitled to time and half for any hours
she worked beyond 40 in a single week. Id. ¶
18. She alleges that she “frequently” worked
beyond her scheduled shift and on weekends, resulting in her
working more than 40 hours in a week. Id.
¶¶ 16-19. She alleges that Defendants failed to
compensate her at one and a half times her regular hourly
rate of pay for the time she worked in excess of 40 hours.
make three arguments in support of their motion to dismiss:
(1) Guon has not plausibly alleged that they
“jointly” employed her; (2) Guon has failed to
sufficiently allege that she was improperly paid; and (3)
portions of Guon's claims are time-barred.
contend that “Guon offers not one distinct fact or
specific action to support her conclusion and demonstrate
that Dr. Cook, Marketstaff, or both exercised control over
her working conditions so as to give rise to a
joint-employment relationship, or that either had any role in
the alleged FLSA violation.” R. 17 at 13. Under the
FLSA, “employer” includes “any person
acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer
in relation to an employee.” 29 U.S.C. § 203(d).
And “employ” is defined to include “to
suffer or permit to work.” 29 U.S.C. § 203(g). The
Supreme Court has described this as “the broadest
definition . . . ever included in any one act.”
United States v. Rosenwasser, 323 U.S. 360, 363 n. 3
(1945); accord Reyes v. Remington Hybrid Seed Co.,
495 F.3d 403, 408 (7th Cir. 2007).
regulations contemplate that an “employee” may
have more than one “employer” for purposes of
enforcement of the FLSA. See 29 C.F.R. § 791.2.
Generally, “for a joint-employer relationship to exist,
each alleged employer must exercise control over the working
conditions of the employee, although the ultimate
determination will vary depending on the specific facts of
each case.” Moldenhauer v. Tazewell-Pekin Consol.
Commc'ns Ctr., 536 F.3d 640, 644 (7th Cir. 2008).
Guon has sufficiently alleged that she worked for Cook and
that Marketstaff was responsible for the process that lead to
her hiring and for her compensation. It is entirely plausible
that Cook would control when and how long Guon worked, while
Marketstaff-as a human resources contractor-controlled how
much she was paid. These alleged facts plausibly show that
Cook and Marketstaff jointly employed Guon.
cite a number of cases they contend require Guon to plead
more specific facts. Two of these cases, however, were
decided on summary judgment, and so have limited relevance to
his motion. See Moldenhauer, 536 F.3d at 641;
Zampos v. W & E Commc'ns, Inc., 970
F.Supp.2d 794, 795 (N.D. Ill. 2013). Another concerned the
liability of a corporate executive for treatment of an
employee at a retail store, see Brunner v. Liautaud,
2015 WL 1598106, at *3-4 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 8, 2015), and
another concerned the liability of the plaintiff's fellow
employee, see Hadad v. World Fuel Servs., Inc., 2013
WL 6498894, at *2 (N.D. Ill.Dec. 11, 2013). The facts in
Brunner and Hadad are inapposite in that
they involve different employment relationships than the
relationship between Guon and Cook and Marketstaff. None of
these cases undermine Guon's allegations that both ...