Many company handbooks state that work may not be taken home and performed or overtime authorized absent written permission from management and they use these rules to decline payment of overtime where no written authorization was obtained. However, these policies may be trumped where the employer knows -- or had reason to know -- that work from home or overtime work was being performed -- and took no steps to stop it. This may especially be the case where the employer imposes unreasonable deadlines on employees.
Many employers require their employees to carry a smart phone or other device so they can be accessible at all times and check and respond to emails outside of the office. Anyone who looks at their cell phone and checks emails on weekends or after hours is performing work for their employer and should be compensated for that time.
Many companies automatically deduct one hour of time each day for lunch and don't ask if you have taken the full hour or if you were asked to do work during your lunch or eat your lunch at your desk and do work requested by your boss.
Many employers believe that they can avoid paying overtime by labeling employees as "managers" or another important sounding title and then pay what they believe to be a higher than market rate annual salary. This is incorrect. It makes no difference what title is given to an employee or whether their annual salary is above or below market. The federal and state laws that govern when an employee is exempt from receipt of overtime focus primarily on the type of work and job duties the employee performs. They look to see if the employee is supervised, exercised judgment and discretion on matters of importance.
Employers of hospitality workers who depend on tips to earn their compensation are generally entitled to pay a lower minimum wage to the workers and then offset the lower wage with a tip credit so that the employee's wages exceed the federal minimum wage. However, there are strict rules contained in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act that govern how and when employers may take advantage of this provision, and the Department of Labor has found many restaurants out of compliance.
By now, many employees and employers are at least generally familiar with the laws that protect employees from termination if they take leave from work to care for their own serious medical condition or the serious medical condition of a family member. But what happens if, after taking leave to care for the serious medical condition of a family member, the family member tragically passes away? Can the employee take leave from work to attend the funeral without fear of losing their job? Or, can the employee take leave from work to grieve the death without fear of losing their job? Unfortunately, unless the employer has an express policy stated in its handbook or collective bargaining agreement that provides for such leave, the answer is NO.
On October 3, 2013, Susan Kruger was a presenter at MadWolf Technology's Lunch & Learn session on risks inherent in policies that require employees to bring their own mobile devices to work.
Outback Steakhouse has been hit with a FLSA lawsuit accusing it of requiring employees to attend pre-shift meetings that could last up to 2 hours before they clock-in for their shift. The plaintiffs are current and former employees of the chain who allege that they were required to perform work without compensation before their official shifts began.
Federal workers who have been furloughed are entitled to file for unemployment benefits. Claims should be filed where you worked, not where you live. An SF 50 is generally required to prove a termination; however, agencies are not providing SF 50s for the shutdown so furloughed workers should be sure to bring pay stubs and other evidence that they are out of work. If, as last time, the government later votes to compensate for the back pay then states may seek to recoup the benefits paid.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide this docket whether employers should be required to provide light duty work to pregnant women.