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Overtime Labor Laws

Federal overtime laws, designed to help end the exempt vs. non-exempt debate, have made things worse. To non-exempt and exempt employees, labor laws continue to confuse.

Business Management Daily can help you comply with federal overtime laws. Learn when you have to pay overtime, and when you don’t.

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Q. When our business gets busy, is it legal for us to require our nonexempt employees to work overtime on occasion?
Here’s a case that should send chills down your spine if you don’t keep meticulous records of every hour worked. A court has allowed a case to proceed based on little more than a worker’s vague allegation that she wasn’t paid overtime for hours in excess of 40 per week.

Employers have long relied on the truck weight classification—not the actual weight the truck is carrying—to determine whether a driver received overtime. That was recently challenged in a class-action lawsuit.

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court considered a class action against Wal­­mart that included over a million employees who claimed sex discrimination. The court said the ­­employees didn’t have enough in common to band together in one lawsuit (Wal­­mart v. Dukes). Now federal courts are doing the same with much smaller class-action lawsuits—good news for employers.
Here’s a bit of news you may want to pass on to company executives when explaining why they must comply with the letter and the spirit of the FLSA. Tell them they aren’t just putting company assets at risk, but also their own.
The parent corporation for such fast food icons as Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut faces a class-action lawsuit alleging numerous wage-and-hour violations in California.
The best approach to classification is to regularly review exactly what employees actually do, day in and day out. Then measure that by what the FLSA regulations say indicates exempt status.

Most federal district courts routinely hold that out-of-court settlement agreements, to the extent that they purport to waive FLSA claims, are unenforceable. That has made it difficult and expensive for employers to resolve pay issues, even when they realize they made a mistake and want to compensate the employee fairly. Last year, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals took a more pragmatic ap­­proach in Martin v. Spring Break ’83 Productions.

Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry has earned the dubious distinction of violating the nation’s pay laws more often than those in any state outside the Sun Belt.
Before you approve a creative approach to paying hourly employees, be sure to get expert help. That’s essential if your em­­ployees may have to put in more than 40 hours of work per week, because you will have to calculate their regular rate of pay to calculate overtime compensation. And that’s something the DOL wants done right.
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