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Perry v. Randstad General Partner U.S. LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 24, 2018

JUDITH PERRY, ERIN LANE, SUHAIMA CHOUDHURY, and AIMEE DOOLING, Plaintiffs,
v.
RANDSTAD GENERAL PARTNER (US) LLC, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S RENEWED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          John Corbett O'Meara United States District Judge

         Before the court is Defendant Randstad General Partner (US) LLC's renewed motion for summary judgment, filed March 1, 2018, which has been fully briefed. For the reasons explained below, Defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         BACKGROUND FACTS

         Plaintiffs Judith Perry, Aimee Dooling, and Erin Lane claim that they were mis-classified as exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act by their former employer, Randstad General Partner (US), LLC (“Randstad”). Randstad is a staffing company that recruits employees or “talent” for its clients. Plaintiffs worked for Randstad at its branch in Troy, Michigan, which focuses on recruiting and placing temporary employees in various office and administrative positions.

         Plaintiffs held several different positions while they worked at Randstad, including Talent Acquisition Specialist, Account Manager, and Staffing Consultant. Plaintiffs' base salaries ranged from $32, 000 to $48, 125, and they were also eligible for commissions and bonuses. Randstad classified Perry, Dooling, and Lane as exempt from the FLSA overtime requirements.

         In granting Defendant's first motion for summary judgment, the court agreed that Plaintiffs were exempt and found that they met the requirements of the administrative exemption while working as Account Managers, Assistant Branch Manager, and Staffing Consultants. Although Defendant also argued that Plaintiffs were exempt under the outside sales and combination exemptions, the court did not reach those arguments. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, finding that Dooling and Perry's duties as Staffing Consultants did not satisfy the administrative exemption. Defendant reasserts its argument that the work performed by Perry and Dooling as Staffing Consultants satisfies the outside sales and combination exemptions.[1] Defendant also contends that the duties performed by Lane as a Talent Acquisition Specialist qualified her for the administrative exemption.

         As Staffing Consultants, Perry and Dooling were responsible for selling Randstad's talent placement services to clients and then recruiting candidates to fill positions.[2] Although the Sixth Circuit found that Perry and Dooling engaged in “matchmaking” duties that fell within the administrative exemption, it determined that such duties were not necessarily their “primary” duties. Perry v. Randstad General Partner (US) LLC, 876 F.3d 191, 212 (6th Cir. 2017). The court found that “a reasonable trier of fact could find that Perry's and Dooling's primary duties during their time as Staffing Consultants were their non-exempt sales and routine recruiting tasks, not their exempt matchmaking duties.” Id.

         The Sixth Circuit noted that Perry believed “her most important duty as a Staffing Consultant was ‘selling Randstad services.'” Id. at 200. “Based upon the estimates of time spent on various tasks Perry offered during her deposition, she spent at least five hours per day on sales activities, perhaps more.” Id. at 212. Dooling testified that her “non-exempt sales duties took up ‘50 percent of [her] time.' She spent the rest of her time on a mix of exempt and non-exempt recruiting and matchmaking duties.” Id.[3] From Dooling's perspective, “there wasn't one activity that was more important over another. All of your responsibilities were important.” Id. at 206.

         According to the Sixth Circuit,

Perry estimated that, as a Staffing Consultant, she spent two hours or more per day “prospecting” - calling clients and prospective clients about potential openings. She spent about an hour each day visiting clients and prospective clients in person. Perry spent about another 4.5 hours per month taking clients and prospective clients of her choosing out for meals. Perry also spent 2-3 hours per month at networking events. It was not clear how the remainder of her time was divided. . . . In practice, Perry typically worked from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. and ate lunch at her desk. She worked some Saturdays and averaged 55 hours per week.

Perry, 876 F.3d at 202. Once a client hired Randstad to fill a position, Perry would recruit appropriate candidates to interview and hire. See Id. at 201. Perry would also check in on placements to ensure that the relationship was working. Id. 202.

         As a Staffing Consultant, Dooling was “required to sell 50 percent of the time as well as recruit 50 percent of the time.” Id. at 205.

Selling meant “going out and finding new business, ” including “lots of phone calls, lots of cold-calling” and prospective client visits, if she was able to set them up. Dooling was also responsible for sending out “lots of marketing material, ” much of which Randstad required her to hand-address or add a personal note to. She was required to reach out to prospective clients in her assigned territory that met Randstad's criteria. She used Randstad's database of potential contacts, and also conducted internet research and did cold calls to add new prospective clients to the database herself. Dooling also knocked on the doors of potential clients several times per month; when she did so, she would be away from the office for approximately half a day.

Perry, 876 F.3d at 205.

         Lane began working for Today's Office Professionals in April 2010 as a staffing consultant. Today's Office Professionals was purchased by Randstad in December 2011, at which time Lane's title became Talent Acquisition Specialist. Randstad does not classify Talent Acquisition Specialists as exempt. Randstad argues, however, that although Lane was a Talent Acquisition Specialist, she actually performed the same duties as an ...


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