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Don’t shoot yourself in the foot! If you praise extra work, pay for it

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Nonexempt employees are entitled to be paid for all the hours they work.

Before issuing a performance appraisal that hails hourly employees for coming in early and staying late, make sure they were appropriately compensated. Otherwise, your praise may come back to haunt you.

Recent case: A group of public safety employees for Los Angeles County sued, claiming they hadn’t been paid for extra time at the beginning and end of their shifts when they checked e-mail, had briefings and completed reports.

The county claimed it had no idea about the work—but performance evaluations told a different story. The employees had regularly been praised for their extra (unpaid) work.

That was enough for the court to conclude the violations might be willful, extending the back pay claim from two years to three. (Vallerand, et al., v. County of Los Angeles, et al., No. CV08-5057, CD CA, 2010)

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