No Overtime Pay Liability When Employee Fails to Report Exact Time Worked


A recent decision from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals instructs employers how they may avoid Fair Labor Standards Act overtime pay liability for overtime hours that are undeniably worked by an employee, when the employee fails to use the employer's time reporting system so as to record his or her exact working time. 

In Brown v. ScriptPro,[1]a Customer Service Operations analyst worked from home while he was out of the office during a period of PTO.  (There was a dispute as to whether this work from home had been authorized, with the employee claiming he had received management permission.)  The employee later claimed in a lawsuit that he was owed overtime pay for the 80 hours he had worked from home.  The employer did not deny that he had, in fact, worked overtime.  But the employee's claim failed because he did not prove the amount of overtime he worked "by justifiable or reasonable inference."  He did not enter his hours worked in ScriptPro's timekeeping system, which was accessible to him from home.  He did not keep any other record of any sort to document the hours he worked.  Company policy required him to record his working time accurately, and he had failed to do so.  "Under these circumstances, where the employee fails to notify the employer through the established overtime record-keeping system, the failure to pay overtime is not a FLSA violation," concluded the Court.

The balance of the case addressed Family and Medical Leave Act interference and retaliation claims, as the plaintiff was fired two days after he requested an FMLA leave.  The Tenth Circuit rejected the claims, as there was evidence that he was fired due to employer dissatisfaction with his behavior - such as not completing projects on time, and loudly arguing with his fellow employees, supervisors, customers and his wife in the workplace - that pre-dated his FMLA request.

[1]Brown v. ScriptPro, LLC, No. 11-3293 (10th Cir. Nov. 27, 2012).


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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