Is a Mashgiach Entitled to Overtime Compensation?

 A mashgiach is a professional who certifies that food is kosher and complies with Kashrut -- the dietary laws of Judaism.

And yet this poor schmoe working for a local kosher catering company is only getting $15 an hour?

Worse yet, he's not getting any overtime and thus sued under FLSA.

In an apparent issue of first impression, Magistrate Judge Goodman in this opinion considers two interesting legal issues:
Defendants seek summary judgment in their favor and raise the following arguments: (1) Altman is an independent contractor, not an employee, and is therefore not subject to the FLSA, (2) Altman is not subject to the FLSA because he falls under the executive exemption, and (3) the mashgiach position falls within the so-called "ministerial exemption" to the federal employment laws.
On the first issue, the judge punts and finds issues of disputed fact:
But the material issue of whether Plaintiff's ability to replace himself with the Rabbi's approval constitutes the power to hire and fire as required by the DOL regulations is still open and the parties have not cited authority to conclusively resolve this question. Accordingly, the Court denies both motions' requests to decide whether Plaintiff is an exempt executive.
On the second the judge gets a little creative:
But the Court need not grapple with the core issue of whether the ministerial exemption applies to FLSA cases. Instead, the Court can decide the competing summary judgment motions by concluding that the ministerial exemption (if it applies at all) is inapposite here because Sterling is a for-profit commercial caterer, not a religious institution.
Oy veh, bring on the trial!

(And get a load of the judge's signature.)


  1. pan con lechon, please.

  2. I think "schlemeil" is a better word, meaning "habitual bungler, dolt."

    (Any resemblence to any member of the judiciary with this comment is purely coincidential.)

  3. I am surprised that there was no clause in the contract mandating that all disputes be heard before a beit din / religious court. Then again, the religious courts are hardly paragons of impartiality.

    This is interesting stuff. Who wins depends upon whose salami is being sliced by whom, and by how long the cutter's peyos are.

  4. And a bit more on the Jewish front:

  5. Note to 2:05PM: Is that considered "Kosher porking"?

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