Work agreement is out of FLSA compliance

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

FLSA compliance means accurate record keeping

If a nonexempt worker handles some duties from home, tracking the hours involved can be critical for FLSA compliance. Better record keeping can also support paying a salary differential, rather than overtime. Here’s a case where good records would have helped the employer.

Walking the dog

Deputy Sheriff Paula Leever was assigned to canine duty. Because her responsibilities involved caring for, training and socializing her police dog Scout during off-duty hours, the department paid Leever a salary differential of $30 per week.

Leever asked for more money. According to her calculations, she spent 28 hours per week of her own time with Scout. While she didn’t expect time and a half (because caring for Scout was only part of her job), she did expect more than $1.07 an hour for the extra work.

Missing: reliable records

Leever filed an FLSA compliance lawsuit claiming unfair pay. Her employer pointed out that a pay differential was reasonable in this case and it was difficult to distinguish when Leever was actually working with Scout from when she was simply at home with the dog.

But an appeals court ruled that the $30 per week pay differential was unreasonable. In finding for Leever, the judge observed that her employer had done nothing to try to determine how much time she actually spent working with the dog and then coming up with a reasonable pay differential.

Cite: Leever v. City of Carson, NV, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, No. 02-16525, 3/4/04.

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