A recent ruling highlights one more reason not to assume staffers are always working the exact hours they’re supposed to be.
HR pros know that non-exempt staff must be paid for every hour they work.
But this firm got in trouble for thinking one of its staffers was always working the exact amount of time specified in his contract — and then refusing to grant him FMLA leave based on that assumption. Whoops.
1,247 hours or 1,250 hours?
High school teacher Edward Donnelly sued his school, claiming he was denied tenure in retaliation for taking leave for gallbladder surgery.
His school tried to get the case thrown out, arguing that, under Donnelly’s collective bargaining agreement, he worked seven hours and fifteen minutes a day for 172 days, or 1,247 hours that school year.
That, they said, was three hours short of the required 1,250 hours needed to take FMLA leave, rendering his request moot.
Donnelly shot back that he worked about 1.5 hours before and after class everyday, and that that should count toward his time.
The court sent the case to trial – the school had no proof to show that Donnelly hadn’t worked those extra hours.
Plus, a performance evaluation positively noted his tendency to show up early and leave late.
Moral of the story: When it comes to tracking hours worked by employees, you can’t assume an earlier agreement will protect you from any OT obligations. In the long run, it pays to keep detailed records of who worked when.