Wage and Hour law complaints don't always turn in the employee's favor

by on April 1, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

FLSA compliance standards and enforcement

Fair Labor Standards Act: More worker complaints, fewer employer penalties

Employee complaints about being denied overtime pay, wages, and job leave guaranteed by law rose in 2005 to the highest level in four years.

However, penalties for FLSA compliance failures and awards of back pay fell to $9 million in civil penalties in 2005, compared with nearly $10 million in 2003.

The data suggest that complying with the law may not stop employers from complaining about perceived violations. In addition to FLSA compliance, good employee communications and an effective complaint process should help

Source: DOL

On-call time not compensable under wage and hour law

Do you ever ask workers to be on call? If so, a frank, upfront talk about on-call pay (or lack thereof) and wage and hour law may prevent a lawsuit later on.

Josephine Huskey was an operating room nurse who averaged one weekend per month on call.

On those weekends she had to respond to pages within five minutes and report to the hospital within 30 minutes. She was compensated only for the time she spent in the hospital – not for her time on call.

Huskey claimed that while on call she couldn’t visit her vacation cabin, ski, or do other things she enjoyed. Feeling restricted, she sued for compensation under federal wage and hour law for the entire time she was on call.

But a court disagreed. Thanks to her pager and cell phone, she wasn’t unreasonably restricted while on call, said the judge.

What HR should have done.

This suit might have been avoided altogether had Huskey’s employer discussed its on-call expectations and pay policies with her before she arrived at the unrealistic belief that she deserved pay for the time she was on call.

Cite: Huskey v. Trujillo, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 02-1022, 8/30/02.

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