Good recordkeeping fends off FLSA overtime lawsuit

by on March 30, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Employee fired for insubordination, not for overtime complaints

Up-to-date job classifications can do more than just make it easy to pay people. They can help beat FLSA overtime lawsuit

As this case shows, when a disgruntled worker sues under FLSA, no one has to scramble to mount a last-minute defense. And no one need worry the worker might have a case.

She refused to do her job

Veronica Pacheco worked in the packaging area of a poultry plant. Her job involved processing chicken parts.

When Pacheco learned employees in the firm’s shipping department qualified for overtime pay, she complained to her boss about it.

The HR manager explained the rules: Packers were exempt from overtime because their work was strictly agricultural. But shippers worked with materials “not wholly produced on site.” That’s the law, but Pacheco didn’t like it.

When Pacheco refused to perform her job in protest, she was warned twice and then fired for insubordination.

Next Pacheco filed a lawsuit claiming retaliation for her FLSA overtime complaints.

Pacheco lost her case because she could show no evidence of retaliation. The employer, on the other hand, showed plenty of documentation – not only of proper FLSA job classifications, but of Pacheco’s acts of insubordination and her warnings as well.

Cite: Pacheco v. Whiting Farms, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, No. 03-1170, 4/30/04.

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