Pioch v. IBEX Engineering Services, Inc., No. 15-10485 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff was employed with IBEX as a computer software and hardware engineer for almost ten years. He filed suit against the company under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., asserting minimum wage and overtime claims. IBEX admitted that it had withheld plaintiff's final three weeks of pay as a result of an audit and its belief that he had improperly collected $147,230 in per diem payments. IBEX raised as an affirmative defense that plaintiff was an exempt employee under the FLSA. The court held that an hourly computer employee who is otherwise exempt under section 213(a)(17) does not become “non-exempt” during his last three weeks of work if the employer withholds his final paycheck. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the FLSA claim. The court held, however, that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to plaintiff on his state-law counterclaim for unjust enrichment. In this case, the district court acknowledged (and plaintiff conceded) that IBEX presented evidence that plaintiff improperly collected $147,230 in per diem payments by misleading IBEX for a number of years about the location of his permanent residence. The court concluded that this evidence would likely have been sufficient to get the unjust enrichment claim to a jury.