Chao v. A-One Med. Servs., Inc., 346 F.3d 908 (9th Cir. 2003)

The United States Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao, brought this lawsuit on behalf of eight former employees of A-One Medical Services, Inc. and Alternative Rehabilitation Home Healthcare, Inc. to recover unpaid overtime payments under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary and awarded overtime wages and an equal amount of liquidated damages. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment. During merger negotiations, the business operations of A-One and Alternative became very closely coordinated, resulting in the two companies’ being under “common control” and existing as a single enterprise. The Ninth Circuit concluded, as had the district court, that A-One and Alternative were joint employers that were required to aggregate, for purposes of overtime calculations, the amount of work done by the employees for each company. The Court further concluded that the employers had willfully violated the FLSA and that liquidated damages had been properly awarded.