In my last post, I discussed how the FLSA approaches the “rounding” of time. In short, rounding is simply the practice of adjusting time clock punch times within specific bounds. For example, if your employees punch in for work at 7:57, 8:01, and 8:02, your rounding rules may treat all of those punches as occurring at 8:00 a.m. for payroll purposes. Here are a few pointers that I mentioned would help you avoid some of the risks associated with rounding your employees’ time entries.
Articles Discussing Hours Worked Under The FLSA.
Yesterday, we discussed the first part of the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Mitchell v. JCG Industries penned by Judge Richard Posner. When it was released, I tweeted:
A few weeks ago on Twitter, I remarked on Mitchell v. JCG Industries, a case from the Seventh Circuit penned by Judge Richard Posner:
The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari on March 3, 2014, in the matter styled Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, to review the compensability of time spent in security screening under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). At issue is the recent decision from the Ninth Circuit holding that employees can state a claim under the FLSA for an employer’s failure to compensate them for time spent in pre or post shift security screening. Busk et al. v. Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc., 713 F.3d 525 (9th Cir. 2013). The question is of great import for the nation’s employers as security screening is becoming an ever more common practice in the workplace. Indeed, the Ninth Circuit’s determination in Busk has already triggered a spate of class-action suits filed by employees seeking back-pay for time spent undergoing pre or post shift security measures. If allowed to stand, the Ninth Circuit’s determination could result in massive retroactive liability stemming from such suits.
On Monday, January 27, 2014, in unanimously affirming the Seventh Circuit’s judgment in favor of U.S. Steel Corporation in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp., the Supreme Court forged a middle ground on the meaning of the term “changing clothes” in section 3(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The outcome of this case will have a significant impact on unionized employers in a wide variety of industries where workers change in and out of protective and/or sanitary clothing at the start and end of their workdays, including food processing, light and heavy industrial manufacturing, chemical processing, energy production and health care. However, the Supreme Court’s opinion also leaves some unanswered questions on the compensability of clothes changing under section 3(o).
Sitting down to dinner but still have a long to-do list from the office? Hear your work e-mails pinging as you watch the game? Not a problem that you can’t handle with your smartphone or tablet. Whatever your take on this 24/7 connectivity, it is undeniable that the proliferation of mobile devices has made working away from the office easier and perhaps expected by employers (and clients). While such a policy may result in an increase in productivity, it can also create a legal risk for employers, namely, unexpected claims for overtime pay.
On October 31, 2013, a Seventh Circuit panel decided, by a two to one vote, to reverse a district court’s decision granting summary judgment to the employer in a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action involving over 400 employees seeking overtime compensation for time spent at the work site showering and changing clothes.
A decision by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (with jurisdiction over Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) illustrates and exacerbates the utter and unwarranted morass into which the calculation of overtime pay has descended in so-called “failed exemption” cases under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The proper application of the law is ill-served by perpetuating or acquiescing in the topic’s equivalent of urban myths.
On Monday, November 4, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp. on the issue of the meaning of the term “clothes” in section 3(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, generally, employees must be paid for donning and doffing protective clothing if they are required by law or the employer to change into such clothing at the work site. However, section 3(o) of the FLSA, passed by Congress in 1949, provides that in a unionized setting time spent “changing clothes” may be excluded from compensable time by a collective bargaining agreement or by a custom or practice of non-compensation for such activities. The outcome of the case will have a significant impact on unionized employers in a wide variety of industries where workers change in and out of protective and/or sanitary clothing at the start and end of their workdays, including food processing, light and heavy industrial manufacturing, chemical processing, energy production, and health care.
On Monday, November 4, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp. on the issue of the meaning of the term “clothes” in Section 3(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Court’s decision will have a substantial impact on unionized employers in a wide variety of industries where workers change in and out of protective clothing at the start and end of their workday, including food processing, light and heavy industrial manufacturing, chemical processing, energy production, and health care.
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in White v. Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation,* upholding summary judgment and dismissal of an emergency room nurse’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim because she failed to follow procedures for reporting time spent working during automatically deducted unpaid meal breaks. Some commentators have seen this decision as partially recognizing a Faragher/Ellerth type affirmative defense in FLSA actions when employers have reasonable procedures for reporting time worked. That view may be a bit oversimplified, but the underlying decision does highlight how an employer may avoid potential FLSA liability by taking proactive steps to ensure that employees are appropriately paid for all time worked.
On August 30, 2013, in Adair v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that time spent by unionized employees walking to and from time clocks after donning and doffing protective clothing was not a “principal activity” for which compensation was required under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Eighth Circuit’s ruling adds to an existing circuit split on whether time spent changing clothes, which is otherwise excluded from compensation under section 203(o) of the FLSA, is still a “principal activity” that starts the continuous workday and triggers compensation requirements. Section 203(o) excludes from compensation time spent changing clothes provided that time has been excluded from compensation “by the express terms of or by custom or practice under a bona fide collective-bargaining agreement.”
Q. A salaried, exempt employee who recently returned from a week of unpaid FMLA leave claims that he is entitled to be paid his full salary for entire week because he responded to a number of work-related e-mails and telephone calls while he was out. Do we have to pay?
Regular readers may have noticed a decline in the frequency of our updates around the end of the year. That’s because, in addition to the usual holiday and year-end craziness, my wife and I welcomed a new baby on the day after Christmas. As I get back into the swing of work and blogging, I thought this might be a perfect time to review the federal requirements regarding break time for nursing mothers.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a settlement with Hilton Reservations Worldwide, LLC, in which the company agreed to pay $715,507 in minimum wages and overtime pay to 2,645 current and former customer service employees in Texas, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The DOL determined after an audit that the company failed to pay workers for pre-shift activities such as booting up their computers, launching necessary programs, and reading work-related e-mails.