It’s up to employers to track how many hours theirwork. At many workplaces, that’s typically done with a timecard system.
Make sure you back up timecard information. Old-fashioned stamped cards can get lost or damaged.
If that happens and an employee alleges she wasn’t paid for all work, the court may take her word—not yours—for how many hours she put in.
Recent case: Pik worked as a cashier at a Japanese restaurant on Long Island. She claimed she regularly worked 11-hour days, five days per week. For all those hours, she said she was paid a flat rate of $110 per day. Pik sued, alleging unpaid overtime.
During pretrial legal maneuvering, the restaurant owners disputed the number of hours Pik worked every day, and thus whether she was even eligible for overtime pay.
The restaurant used timecards to record employees’ hours worked. But when it came time to turn over the records to the court, many of the time cards were missing or unreadable.
The court said that—since it’s the employer’s responsibility to accurately track hours worked—Pik could testify about the hours she put in. At trial, she will be able to tell the jury how long she worked each day. If it believes her, she may be due overtime. (Leong v. Kiraku Japanese Restaurant, No. 13-CV-5528, ED NY, 2015)
Final note: The U.S. Department of Labor makes it easy for employees to track their own hours with a smartphone app called DOL-Timesheet. It includes a time-card function and calculates overtime based on the worker’s regular rate of pay and hours worked.