U.S. Department Of Labor Creates Iphone App For Employees To Track Work Hours
In a recent press release, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the launch of an iPhone application that allows employees to track regular hours worked, breaks and overtime. The app also provides easy links to web pages provided by the Department of Labor for information such as a glossary of terms, contact information and other materials about wage laws.
This is a very important development for employers and employees alike. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to keep accurate records of the hours each non-exempt employee works. The reality is that many employers fail to meet this requirement. Although the law generally puts the onus on employers to track hours, the app benefits employees because in a lawsuit, employees need to provide some evidence of overtime hours worked in order to sustain a claim for unpaid overtime. This app gives employees an easy way to track hours and make sustainable, evidence-based claims for unpaid overtime. Employers can (and should) rebut this evidence by tracking the employees’ hours internally. The differences between the respective documentary evidence should cause overtime disputes to be that much more contested.
Employers should be aware that simply because an employee is paid a salary does NOT mean they are exempt. Employers need to take all necessary precautions to ensure job descriptions and duties comply with the limited exemptions provided under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Also, remember that violations of the Act can result in judgment amounts that include compensation for two times the amount of unpaid overtime, plus the payment of the employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs in prosecuting the action. These are harsh penalties that require employers to be mindful of the many nuances of the Act.