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Court of appeals orders jury to decide about unpaid overtime

Employers in Florida and elsewhere may not ignore overtime by claiming that they were not aware of it. An employee of a trucking company in another state filed a lawsuit against her employer claiming back pay for unpaid overtime hours which were remunerated at the normal rate. The federal district court dismissed the claims finding that the company did not know of the overtime hours worked. The employee filed an appeal.

The complaint of the company's former bookkeeper states that her responsibilities included timesheet processing of her own hours and those of other employees. Along with a summary of the payroll, the timesheets would then be handed to the owner of the company. The plaintiff asserts that she regularly worked more than the 40 hours of a normal workweek. However, her employer allegedly paid all her hours at the normal rate.

She claims to have asked for payment of those hours at the overtime rate of time-and-a-half, but she contends that her request was ill received. Nevertheless, she entered the overtime rated pay on her timesheet some weeks later, which led to her dismissal soon after that. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that her hours were recorded on weekly timesheets, and the defendant knew or should have been aware that she was working extra hours on weekends.

The appeals court said she was due payment for overtime and remanded the case for a jury to decide. Florida employees who work more than 40 hours per week are entitled to remuneration at the overtime rate. Violations of wage and hour laws are punishable, and with the help of an experienced employment law attorney, employers can be held accountable for unpaid overtime.

Source: hr.blr.com, "Ignoring employee's overtime won't make it go away", Kate McGovern Tornone, Aug. 18, 2016

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