Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The New "I'll Sue You App" Courtesy of the Department of Labor

This problem is simple and straightforward. Follow along carefully . . .

1. Employers have the legal obligation of correctly tracking the time worked by non-exempt employees.

2. Many employers effectively "round" by assuming 40 hours a week for employees who don't put in for overtime compensation.

3. In the old days, i.e., yesterday and the days before yesterday, employees would occasionally complaint to the US Department of Labor that they were not being paid for all of their overtime hours. It was a liar's contest and, if the employer was keeping any records, it was difficult to prove they were in some way insufficient.

4. Move forward to this day. The game has changed. The Department of Labor is providing an "app" to employees that runs on their I-Phones, I-Touches and I-Pads that allows them to carefully track each and every hour worked (and perhaps some that were not, including the time it actually takes to learn and use the app). It even contains an handy e-mail application so they can mail their hours directly to the Department of Labor along with their complaint.

5. Now they have their records which they testify (truthfully or not) were kept on a real-time basis. Most employers can't say the same. Net-net: Employees will begin winning and filing more wage and hour claims.

Answers to questions you are asking:

1. Yes, fleeing the country is always an option.

2. Yes, you can "win" (or at least have a fighting chance) in this game by a simple change in your procedures. Ready?

Have every non-exempt employee sign a sheet each week showing the hours you believed they worked that week stating that "the hours reflected below/above accurately reflect the hours I worked." Give them a space to contest the hours the company calculated and resolve the issue right then and there if there is a dispute. If not, with their signature, their I-Phone app won't mean as much to the endgame.

And, what if employees insist on working overtime even though they are told to keep to 40 hours a week? Don't dock them. That's what the government wants you to do -- big problems there. Rather, write them up. Discipline, if necessary. Even fire if it comes down to that.

But, to let an employee with an I-Phone start calculating their own hours which you will learn about much too late to do anything about it is an expensive way to do business.

You heard it here.

Now, how lucky do you feel?


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