Bruno v. Ford, 101121 FED5, 21-20204

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
JudgeBefore Davis, Jones, and Elrod, Circuit Judges.
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
PartiesRashelle Bruno, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Nicole Ford; Shirley Mayberry, Defendants-Appellees.
Docket Number21-20204

Rashelle Bruno, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Nicole Ford; Shirley Mayberry, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 21-20204

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

October 11, 2021

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas USDC No. 4:20-CV-187

Before Davis, Jones, and Elrod, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM. [*]

Appellant Bruno challenges the district court's adverse summary judgment in her FLSA case. We vacate and remand.

Appellees Nicole Ford and Shirley Mayberry hired Appellant Rashelle Bruno in April 2017 to serve as a caregiver for mentally disabled people living in a group home. Bruno contends that her workweek began on Thursday and ended the following Wednesday and that she worked fifty-nine hours one week and twelve hours the next, according to bi-weekly schedule. Appellees paid Bruno $10.25 per hour for her services. But Bruno insists that she was not properly compensated for her alleged overtime hours. Appellees disagree, arguing that Bruno's workweek began on Monday and ended on Sunday and that she worked thirty-nine hours one week and thirty hours the next. At the time Bruno quit, she had worked nearly three years for the employers. This action was filed as a result of their pay dispute.

Initially, Appellees contend, the workweek (Monday-Sunday) was structured so that some employees worked Monday through Thursday while others worked Friday through Sunday. The former group worked nine-hour shifts each day for a total of 36 hours each week. The latter worked twelve-hour shifts each day for a total of 33 weekly hours. But the pay period (Thursday-Wednesday) apparently differed from the workweek, as employees were paid biweekly from the first Thursday through the second Wednesday. Bruno worked the Friday through Sunday schedule every other week and other times as needed between April and June of 2017.

Then, in late June 2017, Appellees created a rotating schedule designed to allow employees to have one day off each weekend. Following this change, Appellees say that Bruno worked nine-hour shifts on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and a twelve-hour shift on Sunday for a total of 39 hours during the first week of the rotation. During the second week, Appellees contend that Bruno worked nine-hour shifts on Thursday and Friday and a twelve-hour shift on Saturday for a total of 30 hours. Appellees insist that, despite the reconfigured schedule, the workweek remained Monday-Sunday and the pay period remained biweekly from the first Thursday through the second Wednesday. In support of this contention, they produced a sworn declaration, a work schedule, and a chart summarizing sign-in sheets.

Bruno, however, argues that the workweek (like the pay period) was actually Thursday-Wednesday. Thus, during the first week of the rotation she claims to have worked nine-hour shifts on Thursday and Friday, followed by a twelve-hour shift on Saturday, and then nine-hour shifts on the following Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for a total of 57 hours. As evidence of this understanding, Bruno points to a document generated by Appellees that shows "time reporting periods" beginning on Thursdays ending on Wednesdays. Bruno further emphasizes that her paychecks themselves reflect a bi-weekly Thursday-Wednesday workweek and pay period because they appear to pay her for working from a Thursday to a Wednesday two weeks later. And she finally avers in a sworn declaration that her supervisor expressly confirmed in November 2019 that "the workweek was from Thursday to Wednesday."

Following a complaint by Bruno, Appellees say they changed the pay period to coincide with the...

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