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Recession playing havoc with FLSA exemptions

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in Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Are your employees performing the exact same tasks they were three years—or even three months—ago? Probably not. Layoffs have left millions of employees juggling their own tasks as well as those of departed co-workers.

One byproduct:
Shifting job duties can also shift exemption status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Titles don’t matter. When employees’ job duties no longer qualify them as exempt from the FLSA, they can raise the “hourly” flag and sue for unpaid overtime pay.

This trend is one reason FLSA exemption-related lawsuits have grown so quickly in recent years.

At the same time, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is promising to crack down this year on wage-and-hour law violators. DOL is adding 250 new field investigators – a staff increase of more than a third this year. This is NOT the year to make an FLSA mistake.

Join us on November 24 for a live webinar event designed to keep you out of court. Wage-ing War: The 10 FLSA Traps You Must Recognize and Avoid Learn more...

Example: A marketing employee sued an Ohio health facility for unpaid overtime. The company originally classified the woman as exempt under the FLSA’s administrative exemption. But she claimed her duties had changed so many times that, at least for part of the time, she should have been classified as a nonexempt hourly employee and, thus, entitled to overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

The court sent the case to trial. The company will now have to explain its classification at each point that her duties changed. (Kiehl v. University Hospitals Health System, ND OH)

Attendees at our recent Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices (LEAP) Symposium showered rave reviews on Wage-ing War presenters, attorneys Carol Bernick and John Coleman.
Register now for Wag-ing War: The 10 FLSA Traps You Must Recognize and Avoid!

Advice: Whenever an exempt employee’s job duties are modified, your organization needs to determine whether the employee is still exempt or is now a nonexempt hourly worker. Tell supervisors and managers to update employee job descriptions with each change and forward them to the HR office for approval.

 

To see if you’re walking into an FLSA trap, test your knowledge:
  • When an hourly employee travels across town or across the country, which hours are paid? What if a delayed flight causes an unexpected overnight stay?
  • If employees are required to change into a uniform at work, must you pay them for that time? If so, how s-l-o-w-l-y can they change clothes while the clock is running?
  • No matter how many times you tell employees to punch in and out, they occasionally forget. What recourse do you have with repeat offenders?
  • Your exempt employee went on vacation but occasionally checked e-mail from the beach. Can that later be used as evidence in an overtime case?
  • A management trainee works alongside hourly workers for his first week. Does that put his FLSA exemption in jeopardy?
Learn these and many more FLSA answers by attending our popular webinar, Wage-ing War: The 10 FLSA Traps You Must Recognize and Avoid.

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