Appellate Court Concludes Timekeeping Policies Not An Absolute Defense to Overtime Pay
Employers faced with overtime lawsuits often attempt to blame their workers for underreporting their hours. In a recent case, however, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that if an employer knew that its employee underreported his hours, it cannot assert equitable defenses based on the employee’s own conduct in underreporting as a bar to the employee’s unpaid overtime claims.
In the case, Bailey v. TitleMax of Ga., Inc., 2015 BL 10572, No. 14-11747, (11th Cir., Jan 15, 2015), an employee filed suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, alleging that he worked more than forty hours per week and was denied overtime pay. His supervisor told him that Titlemax did not pay overtime, and also edited his timesheets to reduce his hours.
Titlemax moved for dismissal of his claims, arguing that the plaintiff could have complained to management, but did not. Titlemax also argued that the plaintiff could not recover overtime pay because he failed to follow Titlemax’s policies requiring the accurate reporting of hours and the reporting of inaccurate timesheets. The district court agreed with Titlemax, and dismissed the overtime claims. However, the appellate court reversed, concluding that “[i]f 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.” It reversed the dismissal of the case and remanded the case back to the district court.
If you work for an employer who refuses to pay your overtime, tells you that you are not entitled to overtime, or alters your timesheet to deny you overtime pay, know your legal rights – speak to an experienced overtime attorney. Josh Borsellino is a Texas attorney who represents workers to get them the overtime pay they deserve. For a free consultation, call 817.908.9861 or 432.242.7118 or complete this online contact form.