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HR Minnesota Legal Briefs

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Confusing pay records draw DOL investigators’ ire

Here’s a sure-fire way to attract the attention of Department of Labor investigators who look into overtime pay irregularities: Create confusing pay schedules that make it hard for workers to determine when they should receive overtime and how much.

Recent case: The DOL twice investigated a day care and early learning center for alleged overtime violations. Then inspectors came back for a third visit. This time, the center had changed its pay practices. Now employees’ pay­­­stubs didn’t list exactly what hours were worked in each pay period. Hours over 40 per week were listed as “other pay.”

The DOL sued, demanding $90,000 in back pay and penalties. The center ar­­­­gued the assessment was unfair and not based on proper calculations. The court, however, slammed the employer for creating misleading and confusing records and sided with the DOL. (Perez v. Contingent Care, No. 15-1074, 8th Cir., 2016)

Extra leave after FMLA not always ADA accommodation

Some workers coming off FMLA leave need just a little more time before they are ready to return. Extra leave may be a reasonable accommodation, but not always.

Recent case: Javonda’s work at a juvenile correctional facility required her to lift 40 pounds. She has fibromyalgia and a degenerative spinal disease. She took 12 weeks of FMLA leave when her condition worsened

Her doctor restricted her lifting on the job, but Javonda disagreed with his assessment. She asked for another week off as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Her employer refused and discharged her. She sued.

The court tossed out her case. It reasoned that the employer was entitled to rely on the Javonda’s doctor’s certification. Letting her doctor-shop for a better release wasn’t a reasonable accommodation under the circumstances. (Scruggs v. Pulaski County, No. 15-1248, 8th Cir., 2016)

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