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The Fair Labor Standards Act [FLSA] states very clearly that qualifying employees who work over 40 hours per work week are to be paid at time and one-half for that over time. Some employers have gone to great lengths to avoid this rule and many have paid the consequences.

Most recently, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta Georgia upheld a $35.6 million dollar judgment against Family Dollar Stores Inc. for denying employees overtime pay by re-classifying them as managers when they clearly were simple employees. In the original lawsuit which was tried in Alabama, nearly 1,500 employees were working 60-70 work weeks and were denied overtime pay.

Family Dollar claimed these employees who were stocking shelves, operating the cash register and mopping floors were "managers" in an attempt to avoid paying overtime. The jury and the 11th Circuit disagreed and found that it was clearly a wage and hour violation by defendant Family Dollar.

This wasn’t the first time that Family dollar was caught with its hands in the over-time jar…..

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in favor of the employees in Brown v. Family Dollar Store of Indiana. In this case, the Federal Appeals Court held that a more lenient standard of proof applies to an employee’s claim for uncompensated overtime if the employer fails to keep accurate time records. The plaintiff in this case brought forth evidence that the employer had altered the time records to avoid paying overtime to its employees; a plan that evidently backfired on the defendant.

All employees should keep in mind the following:

1. Employers that are subject to the FLSA are required to keep detailed records for both non-exempt and exempt employees concerning wages paid.

2. For non-exempt employees, employers must keep track of total hours worked each workday and workweek as well as total wages paid for each period.

3. Employers are required to keep these records for two or three years depending on the type of record involved.

4. If you work more than 40 hours in any 7 consecutive 24-hour work periods, you are entitled to time and a half or "overtime" if you are a non-exempt employee under FLSA.

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