Employees who support businesses performing office functions are often dubbed “administrative” employees, whether for wage-and-hour purposes or otherwise. The question under the Fair Labor Standards Act is whether they are administratively exempt from overtime. Answering that question in the affirmative, Judge William S. Duffey, Jr. recently found an office worker for an electrical services firm

While the FLSA’s “suffer or permit” standard is broad, it is not without limit.  Building on a prior decision, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reviewed several purported justifications for imputing knowledge of alleged additional work asserted by a construction employee and rejected claims of alleged unpaid wages asserted by the former

Over the past year or so, employers in the health care industry, particularly in the Northeast, have been – and continue to be – targeted in a number of lawsuits alleging improper payment of hours worked by their hourly employees. Specifically, these lawsuits allege that certain health care facilities automatically deducted time for meal breaks, even when an employee worked through the meal period. Several of the lawsuits also include claims for unpaid pre- and post-shift work, as well as unpaid training time. The lawsuits seek back wages, interest, attorneys’ fees, and liquidated (double) damages.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most employees must be paid at least the minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour) for all hours worked and must be paid one-and-one-half times the “regular rate of pay” for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. Under the FLSA, bona fide meal periods do not count as “hours worked.” Ordinarily, 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period, although meal periods of less than 30 minutes in which the employee is completely relieved from duty for the purpose of eating may be bona fide under certain conditions. Factors to be considered in determining whether a meal period is bona fide include, among others, whether the employees have sufficient time to eat a regular meal, whether there are work-related interruptions to the meal period, and whether the employees have agreed to the shorter period. Meal periods of less than 20 minutes should be especially scrutinized to ensure that the time is sufficient to eat a regular meal under the circumstances.

Many employers automatically deduct a 30-minute lunch period from an employee’s total daily time worked. Typically, such deductions are made unless the employee notifies the employer that he or she did not take a 30-minute lunch period that day. This practice generally is permissible under the FLSA, provided that the employer accurately records actual hours worked, including any work performed during the lunch period (and accurately compensates the employee for the actual hours worked).

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