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On January 8, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the dismissal of an FLSA collective action, in which a group of employees had alleged that their employer failed to pay them for time spent working during their lunch breaks.
According to this article available via the LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom | Labor & Employment Law Blog, this case illustrates the importance of having a policy and process in place to know when your employees are, and are not, working.
Employees need to be paid for all time spent “working.” If you have a process in place, however, by which employees must notify you of when they are working outside the norm (whether it be a lunch break, or pre- or post-shift), then you will be able to verify the claim, and pay when you can confirm that work has been performed outside the normal shift boundaries. Absent that documentation, however, you are left in a the unenviable position of having to prove a negative (the employee was not working when he says he was), which is not the position you want to find yourself in defending one of these cases.
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