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Up-to-date wage payment policies help employers avoid lawsuits

Employers in the New York area who do not have up-to-date wage payment policies would do well to give the matter serious thought in light of a recent court case heard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. In the case, an employee who worked as branch administrator sued her employer, alleging that the defendant failed to pay the plaintiff for overtime hours worked and further failed to classify her as exempt under the standards set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In deciding the case, the court had to decide the merits of the case based upon assertions of the plaintiff compared to the wage payment practices and implied policies of the defendant. In this particular case, the court found that the plaintiff failed to adequately define whether the allegations set forth pertained to denied overtime or failure to properly classify the employee as exempt.

The court ultimately found that the defendant exercised a policy of paying all excess time worked, regardless of whether it had been pre-approved, and that the plaintiff did not provide sufficient evidence. If the plaintiff had been able to provide sufficient documented evidence to support her claim, the decision could have gone the opposite way.

When preparing policies that apply to wages as well as policies involving human resources overall, business owners may wish to consult a lawyer experienced in matters of employment law, including the Fair Labor Standards Act and wage and hour laws. Clear and concise wage payment policies may help protect employers from lawsuits such as the one above.

Source: National Law Review, Court Finds Individualized Issues Predominate and Grants Company's Motion to Decertify Branch Administrators' Class, Jackson Lewis, P.C., Feb. 20, 2018.

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