10 Oct SMARTPHONE – DUMB IDEA?
Are you an employer who requires your non-exempt employees to communicate electronically with co-workers, clients, or for other work related reasons outside of regular working hours? If so, you could be subjecting your company to significant liability for unpaid overtime wages.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) entitles non-exempt employees to receive overtime compensation for “time spent working” beyond a 40-hour workweek. Employer policies that require its employees to answer their phones or check and respond to e-mail during unscheduled work hours may result in employees working significant uncompensated hours. Even if the time spent by an individual employee communicating electronically during non-working hours might be relatively insignificant, the total time all of an employer’s employees spend working off-duty could be substantial and equate to significant damages in a potential class action lawsuit.
Given that the proof such employees would need to advance a successful lawsuit is electronically stored and easily accessible, employees expected to work off the clock might have little problem proving their case in court. Because of this, employers should act quickly and institute clear policies regarding electronic communication during non-scheduled hours.
Should you wish to institute such a policy or have any other labor and employment law related matters you desire to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact the Masud Labor Law Group.