On April 28, 2014, a Massachusetts federal court granted dismissal of a proposed class action alleging that Raytheon violated Kuwaiti law by failing to pay overtime to employees working in Kuwait on federal defense contracts.
Plaintiff Darrell Robinson argued that Kuwaiti law applied to his overtime claims as a consequence of language in Raytheon’s offer letter and memorandum of understanding (MOU) and a Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) provision included in Raytheon’s contract. He argued that those laws required that he and other similar employees be compensated overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 36 hours per week during the month-long Ramadan holiday, the maximum allowable under Kuwaiti labor law.
The court held that Robinson’s claims failed because the FAR provision does not confer a private right of action to third parties who are not intended beneficiaries of a contract. The court also held that Robinson failed to allege that Raytheon did not comply with the terms of his offer letter and MOU. The court also considered Robinson’s claim that Raytheon had an independent obligation to comply with Kuwaiti labor laws. The court held that under Massachusetts conflict of law principles, Robinson had an obligation to pursue his Kuwaiti-law claims in the Kuwaiti labor department first because Kuwait has a “far greater interest in interpreting and enforcing its own labor laws.”
The full text of the court’s decision can be found here.