FLSA regulations, overtime benefits and corporate review

by on March 27, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Review your overtime benefits package to prevent Fair Labor Standards Act violations

Some managers distribute overtime as if it were a benefit – awarding their best performers the opportunity to cash in on early morning shifts, weekends and other extra hours. But they should be careful not to retaliate against employees by withholding overtime opportunities.

This Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case demonstrates how a company lost a judgment in court by doing just that. Could this happen to your organization?

Facts of the case

A service technician for a telecom company was seen participating in church-related activities while on duty, in uniform and driving a company vehicle. He was suspended for misuse of company time and a company vehicle.

He protested the suspension by filing a grievance with his union. Meanwhile, the company reduced the man’s overtime. Unhappy, he filed a complaint with the EEOC, alleging that cutback on overtime was a violation of FLSA regulations and retaliation for filing the union grievance.

At the hearing the employee showed that in a typical year he earned $20,000 in overtime; but since filing the complaint those earnings dropped to $2,000. He testified that he arrived at work 20 times in one year to find that everyone else had been assigned overtime. The judge said the employee presented enough evidence for a jury to infer that his employer discriminated against him because of his grievance.

The case went on to trial and the employee prevailed.

Review FLSA regulations and your company’s process for assigning overtime . Make sure you’re not denying it to anyone in a protected class, or someone who’s filed a grievance.

Cite: Shannon v. Bellsouth Telecomms, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, No. 01-10361, 5/31/02.

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