Over the past couple years, many high-profile legal battles have given businesses a much-needed reality check, forcing them to think hard about HR policies relating to impassioned topics like discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
But what these businesses may not realize is that the most common HR lawsuits are a bit less sensational. In fact, the majority of HR business lawsuits in America are related to overtime pay—and one Utah business learned that lesson the hard way.
Learning from one Utah business
In August 2022, C&E Stone Masonry LLC of Woods Cross, Utah, was ordered to pay back more than $600k in wages to their employees. The order came after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor revealed they’d violated several overtime laws, including:
- paying workers straight time when they should have been paid overtime; and
- failing to maintain records of employee hours worked.
District director of the Wage and Hour Division, Kevin Hunt, said “Employers must be informed about labor laws and must ensure that workers and their families who depend on their earnings and benefits are not harmed.” Hunt went on to remind employers that “[i]gnorance of the law is not a defense, especially when vulnerable workers are denied the wages they have rightfully earned,” also noting that employers could contact the Wage and Hour Division with any questions.
In this case, C&E claimed they thought they didn’t have to pay overtime if they were paying employees by piecework—an argument that didn’t do much for their defense. This case is a harsh reminder for employers to regularly review their legal obligations to their employees and to ensure they are being followed. To do otherwise is to court disaster.
Creating an overtime pay policy that won’t get you in trouble
C&E Stone Masonry LLC made a mistake. Unfortunately, it’s one that many businesses could easily make. Overtime pay laws vary from state to state, and industry to industry. They can change from year to year, and it’s understandable that a small or midsize business might be ignorant of these changes.
Understanding payment requirements—along with other employment laws—is critical for businesses who want to avoid costly lawsuits that could take them under. When a company clearly understands and outlines the rules around when and how an employee can work overtime, they decrease the chances of getting into this kind of trouble.
Overtime policies should indicate that only non-exempt employees qualify for overtime pay, in accordance with the applicable law. In order to ensure that both employees and employers are on the same page, the policy should require employees to obtain written permission from a supervisor before working overtime.
Generate airtight overtime policies with SixFifty
If you’re already feeling overwhelmed at the thought of creating an airtight overtime policy, you’re not alone. Creating and maintaining employee policies can be stressful, which is why SixFify created the Employee Handbook toolset.
SixFifty experts research and regularly update the entire policy library as employment laws change. Using SixFifty tools is like having a legal expert hold your hand throughout the entire process of policy creation and maintenance, so you never skip over important information that could leave you vulnerable.
SixFifty’s Employee Handbook has all the information you need to generate thorough policies to make sure both employers and employees are on the same page. Like a Q&A conversation with a lawyer, our system asks you questions about your business, then customizes employment documents according to your needs. From there, you can generate and download your documents so you’re legally compliant with overtime pay and pay frequency laws in every state.
Leverage legal expertise with SixFifty
Employment law has been shifting rapidly in the last few years and has become even more complicated as more employers have moved to remote work. If you’d like to avoid being forced to pay back wages (or worse), it’s time to pay attention. Ignorance isn’t bliss—it’s an invitation for a lawsuit.
The good news is that when it comes to HR laws, you don’t have to know everything. SixFifty leverages the expertise of top law experts to ensure you’re legally compliant without having to spend hours researching and updating overtime policies.
So if you’re looking for an easy, affordable way to get top-tier legal employment documents, do yourself a favor. Schedule a demo with SixFifty today.