Wage Act ("D.C. Minimum Wage Act"), 36 D.C. Code §§ 201 et seq. (1981). A trial to the Court was followed by extensive post-trial briefing.
I. Findings of Fact
Defendants George A. Coupe and Bernard Resnick, at all material times herein, have done business as Admiral Limousine Service, a partnership providing chauffeur-driven limousines to the public and government for hire. Transcript ("Tr.") at 665-66. Admiral maintains an office and garage at 1243 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C., and a bookkeeping office in Alexandria, Virginia. Admiral is an employer involved in interstate commerce. Tr. at 646-47.
The majority of Admiral's work involves servicing the business needs of clients from Monday through Friday, with most jobs beginning between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Most jobs were arranged and assigned to chauffeurs at least one day in advance. Tr. at 232, 508, 604, 655-59, 666-67.
Each chauffeur was expected to arrive at work in uniform. He would report to the dispatcher who then assigned him a vehicle. Tr. at 138, 384. It then became the responsibility of the chauffeur to make sure his assigned vehicle was clean, fueled, and in satisfactory mechanical order. Tr. at 138, 184. The chauffeur would then remain on call until given a driving assignment. Tr. at 141.
Upon completion of a driving assignment, the driver would either return to the office or call in to the office with the necessary billing information. Tr. at 657. Admiral did not normally require its chauffeurs to keep or turn in job slips, which record the name of the customer and the various stops made. Tr. at 267, 773-74.
Chauffeurs were compensated for driving in several ways. For most assignments, chauffeurs were paid one-third of the average customer charge. There was a three-hour minimum for most driving assignments, and chauffeurs would receive one-third of the three-hour minimum charge even though their actual work time was less than three hours. Tr. at 674-78. For trips to area airports, chauffeurs were paid a flat fee: $ 10.00 to National Airport, $ 20.00 to Dulles Airport, and $ 23.33 to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Tr. at 678. For out-of-town trips, chauffeurs received one-third of a dollar per mile. Id. At most times pertinent hereto, chauffeurs earned between $ 7.50 and $ 20.00 per hour of driving. Id.
During all times material herein, there was a specific waiting time, or "guaranty" agreement between Admiral and its employees. A chauffeur had the option to be paid, and Admiral agreed to compensate him, for time spent at Admiral's office waiting to be dispatched if certain conditions were met by the chauffeur. The terms of the agreement were posted on an information sheet in the chauffeurs' lounge as follows:
Guaranty is $ 30.00 for an 8 hour day and covers the time from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Guaranty is secured for any jobs totalling under $ 30.00 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Guaranty is secured for any job that begins at 5:01 p.m. or after. You must be on time to collect the guaranty.