Sometimes, organizations get in hot water inadvertently. For instance, I remember reading some years ago about a small school district in which a number of employees held more than one job. The math teacher was also a sports team coach. The school secretary also drove a school bus. That sort of thing. The thing is, they counted work hours by job, not by employee. So if the teacher spent 35 hours in the classroom, and another 10 hours on the playing field, they’d pay him for 35 hours as a teacher, and 10 hours as a coach.
Of course, my alert and discerning readers, you know the problem with this. Since they were working for the same employer, those hours should have been added together. That teacher/coach actually worked 45 hours, and should have been paid 5 hours of overtime.
As I say, sometimes the trouble happens accidentally. And then there are companies like the one I just read about on the Department of Labor website. (Don’t try this trick at your place of work, folks!)
Two Locations, Two Payrolls
According to a press release from the DOL, Furniture Loft, a Kansas store with locations in Osage City and Emporia, employed some of the same delivery drivers at both locations.
Similar to the school district, they counted the hours each driver worked at each location separately, meaning that the drivers could work more than 40 hours in a week without getting the overtime pay the law says they were due.
But Furniture Loft took it one step further. According to the DOL investigation, when employees worked more than 40 hours at a single location, the store would transfer their overtime hours to the other location’s payroll and pay them at the straight-time rate! (This is one way the DOL could tell it was “willful” and not an accidental violation.)
I’m not sure what would have happened if anyone had managed to put in more than 40 hours each at both locations in the same week.
There were a few other minimum wage violations as well. The end result was that the company paid $16,489 in back wages and damages to six workers.
The Take-away Lesson
Of course, none of us would deliberately try to do an end-run around overtime rules. Right? 🙂
But, like the school district, we might find ourselves in trouble if we forget that in most cases, hours need to be totaled up by employee, regardless of how many different “jobs” they do for us, or in how many of our locations they work.
Do you have any employees who work in more than one location, or who do more than one job for you? What steps do you use to make sure you’ve accounted for their time correctly?
Image by Bruce Guenter