A work-free lunch or paid overtime is what you need to do to stay in FLSA compliance

by on April 2, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

FLSA Compliance means you have to let them eat lunch

A Colorado aerospace company made employees work through lunch breaks without pay. The failure to meet with FLSA compliance standards cost nearly $600,000 in back wages. Almost 800 workers will receive the money. DOL said the company also misclassified top-earning hourly workers as exempt from FLSA compliance. For that error, the company must pay a further $383,000.

Cite: DOL v. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Inc. Issue 6.03 8-20-07

Illegal meal break deduction violates FLSA law

A number of medical center employees noted a curious deduction on their pay stubs: a 30-minute lunch break, even on days when they took no lunch break. Turns out the employer automatically deducted 30 minutes per day for lunch – even when workers did not take a lunch break.

The DOL, responding to an employee complaint, investigated and initiated a lawsuit on behalf of the workers.

The employer settled, agreeing to pay $123,628 to 907 employees. And moving forward, the employer will only deduct lunch breaks when hourly, non-exempt workers actually take a break.

Cite: DOL v. Parkview Medical Center.

Failure to pay for work is a major FLSA compliance violation

When nurses at a hospital discovered that they weren’t being paid for work they performed outside of their shifts and during their meal breaks, they filed a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit against their employer.

In court, the nurses proved that they couldn’t possibly perform all of their functions during their scheduled shifts. Pre-shift, post-shift and meal-break work were required parts of the job for which the non-exempt nurses weren’t getting paid.

The hospital paid a $4 million settlement. And it agreed to change the nurses’ pay stubs to make it easier to tell between shift and overtime pay.

Source: Chicagobusiness.com

85K FLSA compliance wake-up call for sleep-study firm

The CEO of a company that conducted sleep studies resisted warnings from the CFO that his technicians needed to be paid overtime to meet FLSA compliance standards.

As a result, the firm ended up owing $85,800 in back wages to nine techs plus an equal amount in damages.

The techs traveled to facilities and recorded the sleep functions of patients using electronic monitors. They said in their Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit that they worked between 10 and 14 hours daily and got only a per diem.

The damages were assessed because, although the CEO said he tried to find out from DOL what his legal situation was, the court doubted that he tried very hard.

Cite: McLaughlin v. Somnograph

Early Start Costs 100K for FLSA Compliance Failure

Everybody likes workers who are 100% involved. But when hourly employees put in regular hours before and after their shifts, an employer can have a problem.

A hospital in New York state learned this the hard way – by paying $100,000 in back overtime. DOL found hospital nurses were routinely starting early and leaving late without being paid for it.

Also, nurses had a half hour deducted for meal breaks that weren’t taken or were interrupted.

Failure to pay for pre-, post-shift work is a FLSA compliance violation

Regardless of when nonexempt workers are scheduled, if they perform pre- and post-shift work assignments, their employer must pay them.

Wage and Hour investigators discovered that nonexempt case managers at a community services center were required to handle paperwork and other administrative functions before and after their shifts.

In this case, the employer agreed to pay 51 workers $139,866 in back pay.

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