Overtime Compensation And Sleeping On The Job

A recent overtime lawsuit raised an interesting question – what employment laws apply when workers are required to “sleep on the job”? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides workers many protections, including requiring that workers be paid at least minimum wage and that non-exempt workers be compensated at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours in any work week. Despite this straightforward sounding rule, employers often mistakenly – or even sometimes intentionally – violate federal labor law by failing to pay workers all the compensation they deserve.

If you have questions about your wages and whether you have been paid properly, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney who can help answer your questions and protect your rights.

Employers may make errors in your pay in a variety of ways. A common mistake is “misclassification.” Misclassification occurs when your employer mistakenly classifies you as an independent contractor rather than an employee, or an exempt employee rather than non-exempt. In each of these situations, you may be denied the overtime wages you deserve. FLSA violations and lawsuits are also frequently the result of employers failing to pay workers for all the time they put in – such as required time for doffing and donning gear, missed breaks and lunches, and off-the-clock time required to respond to phone calls and emails.

A recent case raises the question of how workers – “house managers” – should be compensated for the time they are required to sleep at work. In this instance, the house managers worked at an agency that provides care for individuals in a homelike setting and requires employees to work 24-hour shifts. The workers allegedly were required to sleep overnight in the agency homes where they worked and were not paid for these overnight hours. The lawsuit alleges that this arrangement violates several FLSA provisions.

Generally, how federal labor law applies to overnight provisions is based on several considerations including the number of consecutive hours a worker is required to put in, whether an agreement for compensation for overnight time exists, and the sleeping conditions provided for the workers.

Despite the straightforward nature of the FLSA, each work situation may vary and raise complications concerning your pay. If you have questions, or believe that you may not have received all the compensation you are entitled to, please contact the top Atlanta wage and hour attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate, confidential case evaluation.