On December 16, 2015, a publishing company in Pennsylvania was found to have violated the FLSA for docking employees for break time. The telemarketing workers at the company were being docked for almost all time not spent making phone calls – whether it was a quick 2 minute water, bathroom or rest break or longer lunch break. The amount of back wages has not yet officially been determined but the estimate is at least $1.75 million (back wages and liquidated damages as the court determined the violations to be willful) to compensate more than 6,000 employees who were working in the company’s 14 calls centers. The timekeeping system used by the company was deducting those short break times from the employees total hours worked. The FLSA does not require lunch or others breaks but when employers do offer short breaks (5-to-20 minutes), the law considers the breaks compensable work hours that must be included in the total hours for the week and considered in determining entitlement to overtime.
Like most of these cases, the publishing company was also found to have failed to maintain proper records as required by the FLSA. Companies must be vigilant in ensuring that all docking of its employees’ time is lawful pursuant to the FLSA and any applicable state laws and that proper records are kept.
For more information on the FLSA or any further employment related matters, please contact Dana Perminas, at 312-334-3474 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.