The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simandle, District Judge
Plaintiffs in this action are four present and former employees of the Vineland Housing Authority ("VHA") who worked as maintenance repairmen. Plaintiffs filed this action, alleging that Defendant failed to pay them certain overtime wages to which they allege they were entitled under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law ("NJWHL"), N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a4. Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment [Docket Item 19]. The principal legal issue to be determined is whetehr under the undisputed facts of this case, the employees' on-call waiting time is compensable overtime under the FLSA and the NJWHL. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendant's motion.
Defendant VHA is a public entity which rents affordable housing units to low- and moderate-income individuals and families, and which provides maintenance services for these housing units. (Capelli Dep. at 104; Noble Dep. at 46.) At all times relevant to this lawsuit, Plaintiffs Earl Cannon, Frank Richer, Kenneth Wright, and Leo Velez were employed by VHA as maintenance repairmen. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 4-7.)
Plaintiffs' regular workweeks at VHA required them to work eight hours per day from Monday through Friday, for a total of forty hours each week. (Def.'s Br. Ex. C.) In addition to these regular hours, each week, one VHA maintenance repairman was required to be on call after regular working hours and over the weekend. (Def.'s Br. Ex. B at 10.) VHA employed a rotating schedule for on call assignments, with each maintenance repairman being assigned to be on call for one week, during which time that repairman would be responsible for all maintenance requests placed between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on weekdays and throughout the weekend. (Id.) During the period at issue in this case, VHA generally employed six maintenance repairmen, which meant that each of the Plaintiffs in this case was responsible for being on call for one out of every six weeks. (Capelli Dep. at 132-33.)
During the times when the Plaintiffs were on call, they were not required to stay at home by the telephone, but were instead required to carry pagers so that they could be reached in the event that a maintenance request was placed. (Def.'s Br. Ex. B at 10.) According to Plaintiffs, they were required to call their supervisor "[i]mmediately" when they were paged, (Wright Dep. at 37), and from the time they spoke to the supervisor about the nature of the maintenance request, they had to "drop whatever [it was that they were doing] . . . and be there [to respond to the request] in 20 minutes." (Velez Dep. at 62.) According to Plaintiffs, a repairman who did not arrive at the apartment where the maintenance request was placed within twenty minutes of having responded to a pager request faced discipline, including possible termination.*fn1 (Id. at 67.) The number of maintenance requests that a repairman could expect to receive during a given on-call week varied widely -- some weeks, a repairman would receive no calls over the course of an entire week, (Cannon Dep. at 58), but Plaintiff Richer testified that on one occasion he received as many as seventeen maintenance requests in a single on-call week. (Richer Dep. at 36.)
Plaintiffs allege that the twenty-minute response window during their on-call weeks imposed substantial limitations on the activities they could undertake while on call, because they needed to be able to drop whatever it was that they were doing and respond to the work site within twenty minutes if a request was placed. Each Plaintiff testified to a wide range of activities that he was unable to participate in during an on-call week, including going to movies, going out to dinner, going fishing, riding horses, taking on part-time work, and going out of town. (Wright Dep. at 50; Velez Dep. at 91; Richer Dep. at 58.) Plaintiffs did testify to activities that they were able to undertake when on call -- including doing yard work, visiting relatives in towns close to Vineland, attending church, and "hang[ing] around" with relatives in the backyard, (Cannon Dep. at 45, 51; Richer Dep. at 45; Wright Dep. at 60) -- but it is clear from the deposition testimony that Plaintiffs felt that they were more restricted in what they could do during on-call weeks than at other times.
During an on-call week, a maintenance repairman who received a repair request would receive a minimum of two hours of overtime pay,*fn2 even if the job took less than two hours to complete. (Richer Dep. at 38.) If an on-call employee was required to perform a job lasting longer than two hours, the employee would be paid at his overtime rate for the number of hours that the job took to complete. (Noble Dep. at 93-94.) During the times when Plaintiffs were on call but not responding to a maintenance request, they were not paid; that is, the only overtime pay that Plaintiffs received during on-call weeks was for the hours spent responding to maintenance requests, not during the down time between such requests. (Am. Comp. ¶ 15.)
Plaintiffs Cannon, Richer, and Wright filed the original Complaint in this action on May 5, 2006 [Docket Item 1], and on January 22, 2007, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint [Docket Item 11] which added Plaintiff Velez to the action. The Complaint alleges that Defendant failed to pay Plaintiffs time-and-a-half for time worked in excess of forty hours per week in violation of the FLSA (Count I) and the NJWHL (Count II).*fn3 All discovery is complete and Defendant has filed the motion for summary judgment [Docket Item 19] presently under consideration, to the merits of which the Court now turns.
Summary judgment is appropriate when the materials of record "show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In deciding whether there is a disputed issue of material fact, the court must view the evidence in favor of the non-moving party by extending any reasonable favorable inference to that party; in other words, "the nonmoving party's evidence 'is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [that party's] favor.'" Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 552 (1999) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). The threshold inquiry is whether there are "any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of ...