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Corporatewide pay policies reduce class-action risk

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in Human Resources

It’s one thing to have to pay a wage-and-hour claim for one or two employees. It’s quite another to have to defend a giant class-action overtime suit.

One way to cut the risk that a minor problem will morph into a huge lawsuit is to enforce clear overtime rules.

Recent case:
Constantine Thompson worked for a Speedway SuperAmerica convenience store. He sued when he came to believe he wasn’t being properly paid for time spent answering the phone at home or doing competitor gas surveys. Then he sought to turn the case into a class-action suit involving all employees like him.

The court said no to the class action. Thompson couldn’t prove that the company had uniformly ignored its own rule requiring payment for phone and survey work. Thompson could sue only for his own lost pay. (Thompson v. Speedway SuperAmerica, No. 08-CV-1107, DC MN, 2009)

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