By: Scott J. Connolly and Sandra E. Kahn
On November 22, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary order that temporarily blocks the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing changes to the salary basis for white collar overtime exemptions. The new salary rule, which was to become effective on December 1, 2016 would have required employers to increase exempt employees’ minimum salary from $23,660 to $47,476. The preliminary court order blocking the rule appears to apply to all public and private employers nationwide.
Find out how the judge’s order will affect the new salary rule, which was to become effective on December 1. Read this month’s Employment Law Alert.
By: Sandra E. Kahn
There is an ever-increasing array of regulation on employment practices at the state and federal level. But when do growing businesses become covered under the employment laws of these jurisdictions?
It’s all in the employee numbers: Six, Fifteen, Twenty, Fifty, One Hundred. For example, when a business has six employees, the company becomes covered by the MA Fair Employment Practices Act but then at fifteen, it also comes under the federal laws of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As the company grows, different regulations come and go and it is critical to be aware of it in order to maintain legal compliance.
Read the full post here.
Both Federal and Massachusetts law require that employers pay their non-exempt employees overtime wages whenever employees work more than 40 hours in a workweek. The law requires that employers pay overtime when they knew or should have known that the employee worked more than 40 hours. As a result, employers can be liable for overtime hours which they did not specifically authorize. Employers can minimize this liability by establishing an overtime policy and a mechanism for requesting and reporting overtime.
Overtime policies should include: who is eligible for overtime; what, if any conditions apply to the authorization of overtime; a specific mechanism for employees to request authorization to work overtime; and a specific mechanism for employees to report overtime hours which have been worked. Any policy should be clearly and conspicuously communicated to employees, and consistently enforced. Managers should not, under any circumstances, instruct employees to falsely record time or avoid reporting overtime hours worked.
Maintaining an overtime policy will not only result in transparent workplace expectations but it could also help an employer defend against an expensive wage and hour claim. In Vitali v. Reit Management and Research, LLC, SUCV2012-00588-BLS1 (Mass Super. June 2, 2014), a Massachusetts employee claimed she had worked through her lunch regularly and as a result often worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, entitling her to overtime. However, her employer had an overtime policy in place which required advanced approval for working overtime, as well as mechanisms for reporting overtime hours, which the employee had not followed despite her familiarity with the policy. The employee presented no evidence that management knew that the employee was working through lunch. Because the employer had clearly communicated rules and policies in place, and because the employee had failed to follow them, the employee was not able to maintain her claim for unpaid wages and the employer escaped a potentially expensive claim.
For more information on overtime policies, please contact a member of our Employment Law Group.