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Employee said he would do work free? You must still comply with the FLSA

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in Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been around for many decades, but some em­­ployers still think they can circumvent the inconvenient truth that they must pay employees for their labor. If some of your managers share this mis­­conception, the following case may make them change their minds.

Recent case: Nathan Campbell worked as a Clark County sheriff’s deputy. He bought a German shepherd named Apollo and trained him to become a police dog.

Then he campaigned for the creation of a K-9 unit that would include Apollo and himself. The sheriff’s department agreed after Campbell said there would be no cost to the department. When Apollo “retired,” Campbell got another dog named Etzel, who joined the K-9 unit. Then Campbell and Etzel were both severely injured in a work incident.

Campbell sued, alleging he should have been paid for all the time he spent caring for the dogs.

The de­­partment argued that since Camp­­bell had agreed to create the unit at no cost, he shouldn’t be able to claim overtime or other payment for time spent working with the dogs.

The court disagreed. It said the department couldn’t simply agree not to pay Campbell; it still had to comply with the FLSA. What’s worse, the court said the department hadn’t acted in good faith. Campbell can now go back three years and demand double damages. (Campbell v. Kelly, et al., No. 3:09-CV-435, SD OH, 2011)

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