I have an employee who claims to have worked more hours that the agreed upon 29 hours per week, there is nothing in writing to substantiate the employees claim and under the law I want to ensure that I do the right thing. Is the law defined in this area?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employer must pay its employees for all the hours that it "suffers or permits" them to perform work. This makes it very difficult for the employer to argue that the work was unauthorized; the employer basically needs to prevent the work from being performed to avoid having to pay for it. Moreover, it is the employer's responsibility to maintain accurate time records, so pleading ignorance is generally not a successful strategy.
On the other hand, there are several legal issues that an attorney would want to address before advising you in this situation. For example, is your business covered by the federal wage and hour laws? And, if so, does the employee fall under an exemption to any of those laws? It may turn out that you are not obligated to pay anything to the particular employee, or it may be the case that failure to pay could create a serious litigation risk. An attorney would have to know all of the facts before answering the question in your post.
My firm does not provide legal advice over the internet, and we only represent individuals after they have signed a legal services contract.
Depends if you knew the employees was working. If so, yes. If not, maybe no. But it you had a mnager who knew of the extra hours you could be on the hook.
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