Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
May 18, 1992, Argued ; August 31, 1992, Decided
[*806] CUDAHY, Circuit Judge. Daniel Vanskike, an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, has performed various work assignments while in prison. In this appeal we must decide whether Vanskike is entitled to the federal minimum wage for his work by virtue [**2] of being an "employee" wider the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Vanskike filed a pro se complaint against the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC), alleging that the DOC used and continues to use prisoners for work assignments. The complaint alleges that Vanskike has done "forced labor" as a janitor, kitchen worker, gallery worker and "knit shop piece-line worker" while incarcerated at Stateville and Menard Correctional Centers. It charges that the DOC does not compensate working prisoners with "equal minimum fairness employment compensation" ordinarily paid to "any normal employee . . . on an hour for hour wage."
The district court construed the claim as one brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., and granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. A magistrate judge denied the [*807] plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel. The district court then granted the DOC's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), concluding that prisoners are not "employees" under the Fair Labor Standards Act and that neither the DOC nor the State of Illinois acts as an "employer" with respect to the prisoners. 3
] We review the grant of a motion to dismiss de novo, assuming the truth of all factual allegations and drawing reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Prince v. Rescorp Realty, 940 F.2d 1104, 1106 (7th Cir. 1991). Because the plaintiff in this case was proceeding pro se in the district court, his complaint must be liberally construed to ensure that his claims receive fair and meaningful consideration. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972); Matzker v. Herr, 748 F.2d 1142, 1146 (7th Cir. 1984).
] The FLSA, which was enacted in 1938, requires employers to pay their employees a minimum hourly wage--currently $ 4.25. 29 U.S.C. § 206(a)(1) (1992 Supp.). The Act defines "employee" in a circular fashion, as "any individual employed by an employer," 29 U.S.C. § 203(e)(1), including "an individual employed by a State," 29 U.S.C. § 203(e)(2)(C). The term "employer" includes "a public agency." 29 U.S.C. § 203(d). The FLSA defines the term "employ" as "to suffer or permit to work." 29 U.S.C. § 203(g).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
974 F.2d 806 *; 1992 U.S. App. LEXIS 20473 **; 123 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P35,711; 30 Wage & Hour Cas. (BNA) 1739
DANIEL LEE VANSKIKE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. HOWARD A. PETERS, III, 1 Defendant-Appellee.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis Division. No. 87 C 3829--William D. Stiehl, Chief Judge.
prison, unfair competition, minimum wage, cases, incarceration, employees, work assignment, circumstances, courts, wages, economic reality, district court, class action, Ashurst-Sumners Act, purposes, alleges, factors, unfair
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Parties, Pro Se Litigants, Pleading Standards, Labor & Employment Law, Wage & Hour Laws, Scope & Definitions, Definition of Employ, Employment Relationships, At Will Employment, Definition of Employees, General Overview, Governmental Employees, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Criminal Law & Procedure, Postconviction Proceedings, Imprisonment, Civil Rights Law, Protection of Rights, Prisoner Rights, Constitutional Law, Involuntary Servitude, Torts, Business Torts, Unfair Business Practices, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Certification of Classes, Remedies, Class Actions, Notice of Class Action, Content of Notice, Opt Out Provisions, Prerequisites for Class Action