Best Ohio Wage Theft Attorney Answer: Can My Employer Refuse To Pay Me If I Didn’t Follow The Rules For Reporting My Time? Can My Employer Refuse To Pay Me For Overtime My Boss Knows I Worked? Can My Boss Tell Me Not To Record My Time?
Our overtime law lawyers often hear from employers defending overtime cases that because the employee did not follow “the employee handbook” in reporting his or her overtime hours, either (1) it did not happen or (2) the employer is not responsible. As a recent case out of the United States Eleventh Circuit of Appeals demonstrates, this is no defense for wage and hour violations.
In Bailey v. TitleMax of Georgia, the employee worked several hour of overtime, but was not paid for them because they were not reflected on his time cards. The employee’s time cards under reported his hours for two reasons – because the plaintiff did not report all of his hours, and because his boss would alter the plaintiffs time records in order to decrease the plaintiff’s hours. Likewise, there was evidence that the employees’s boss told him that TitleMax “does not allow overtime pay” and that “[t]here [would] be days that [they] [would] be working off the clock,” and that plaintiff would simply clock-in and clock-out as his boss directed him to. For many hourly employees, this likely sounds all too familiar.
In a motion for summary judgment, TitleMax argued that because the employee had violated the policies contained in TitleMax’s employee handbook which require employees to accurately record all time worked and to report any problems with a supervisor to a higher level employee, he was barred by the doctrines of “unclean hands” and “in pari delicto” (equal fault) from recovering on his overtime claims. The trial court accepted TitleMax’s argument, and dismissed the employee’s case. The employee then appealed.
The Court of Appeals had no trouble determining that the trial court got it wrong, finding that its decision was contrary to the purpose and intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA“):
Nearly seventy years ago, the Supreme Court wrote that the “the prime purpose” of the FLSA is “to aid the unprotected, unorganized and lowest paid of the nation’s working population; that is, those employees who lacked sufficient bargaining power to secure for themselves a minimum subsistence wage.” The Court explained that Congress passed this law as a recognition of the fact that due to the unequal bargaining power as between employer and employee, certain segments of the population required federal compulsory legislation to prevent private contracts on their part which endangered national health and efficiency and as a result the free movement of goods in interstate commerce.
This Court has, in the decades…echoed the same principle: the goal of the FLSA is to counteract the inequality of bargaining power between employees and employers. …
In the broadest sense, this principle has guided the rulings of this Circuit, and it compels our holding here. If an employer knew or had reason to know that its employee underreported his hours, it cannot escape FLSA liability by asserting equitable defenses based on that underreporting. To hold otherwise would allow an employer to wield its superior bargaining power to pressure or even compel its employees to underreport their work hours, thus neutering the FLSA’s purposeful reallocation of that power.
The takeaway from TitleMax is quite simple: employers can’t pressure employees to under report their hours under any circumstances. If you work the hours, you should get paid, without exception.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as requires under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards laws or you are an nonexempt employee that has been misclassified as exempt or independent contractor, contact the attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. The wage and hour lawyers at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.
The materials available at the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to overtime?”, “Does my job have to pay me for …”, “My paycheck is not right…” or “What do I do if…”, the your best option is to contact an Ohio overtime attorney to obtain advice with respect to FLSA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.