Don’t delay paying overtime for workers on temp assignments — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Don’t delay paying overtime for workers on temp assignments

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Sometimes, employers send employees away on temporary assignments. Often, that means long hours in strange locations and less communication between employees and the home office.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you can delay paying legitimate wages—such as overtime—if the employee isn’t exempt. Instead, make sure you have an effective reporting system in place that lets you track and pay for all hours worked. Otherwise, you may find yourself mired in needless litigation.

Recent case: When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service temporarily reassigned Special Agent Marilee Brown to the Federal Aviation Administration as an air marshal, her boss claimed her “time sheets were too confusing” to pay her promptly for all her hours and overtime.

As a result, she said in a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuit filed several years later, she didn’t get all the pay she was entitled to in a timely manner. She claimed this established bad faith on her employer’s part, entitling her to go back three years in her lawsuit.

The court refused to toss out the case, and now it will go forward. If Brown can prove what she says—that she wasn’t paid in a timely way for work she performed—she may win the case. (Brown v. Norton, No. 02-5556, DC NJ, 2008)

Final note: The FLSA is serious stuff. For guidance on how and when to pay, go to the U.S. Department of Labor’s web site at

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