Establish Clear Employee Hour Tracking Systems to Avoid Unpaid Overtime Claims.

Are your employees keeping “secret” time cards? Don’t be surprised!

I am amazed at the number of employee wage disputes I encounter for clients whose aggrieved employees claim unpaid overtime or claim compensation for legally required breaks they were entitled to take but either claim they were not permitted to take – or simply failed to take. And they show up with “secret” never disclosed before “records” sometimes going back several years. Surprised employers are dazed and confused!  Since when did their employees start submitting time cards for wages, but hide and hold back the not taken breaks and the unreported overtime pay?

When these claims are filed with the employee centric and unabashedly employee favorable California Labor Commissioner, employers can’t do much except get out their checkbooks.

Employer Protect Thyself.

I have long counseled clients to establish a clear and mandatory full time and breaks reporting system that demands employee disclosure of all these details in each pay period.  In addition to claiming hours, employees are required to certify that no other time has been worked and no other claims are existing but not disclosed.  The payroll reporting document becomes, essentially, a mini disclosure and release agreement, insuring that all the employee wage, hour and break claims are “on the table” at that time, or forever waived.

There is no judicial precedent to support this approach.  A recent decision from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals holds that employers can avoid liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act for unreported overtime pay, even if that time is undeniably worked by an employee, when the employee fails to use the employer’s time reporting system to record his or her exact working time.

In Brown v. ScriptPro LLC, employee Brown claimed he worked from home while he was out of the office.  He claimed that he was owed overtime pay for the 80 hours he had worked from home.  The employer did not deny that he had, in fact, worked overtime.  But the employee’s claim failed because he did not prove the amount of overtime he worked “by justifiable or reasonable inference.”  He did not enter his hours worked in ScriptPro’s timekeeping system, which was accessible to him from home.  He did not keep any other record of the hours he claimed he worked.  His employers company policy required him to record his working time accurately, and he had failed to do so.  The Court  held that “Under these circumstances, where the employee fails to notify the employer through the established overtime record-keeping system, the failure to pay overtime is not a FLSA violation.”

Mr. Brown chose not to enter any of the hours he allegedly worked from home in ScriptPro’s timekeeping system.  He did not keep any other record of any sort to document the hours worked. Id. Mr. Brown argues that ScriptPro is responsible for keeping accurate records and the employee cannot bear the burden of proving the precise amount of overtime worked.  But courts only relax the plaintiff’s burden to show the amount of overtime worked where the employer fails to keep accurate records.  It is undisputed that ScriptPro keeps accurate records, and employees can even access the timekeeping system from home. Mr. Brown easily could have entered his hours; in fact, he was required to do so. There was no failure by ScriptPro to keep accurate records, but there was a failure by Mr. Brown to comply with ScriptPro’s timekeeping system. Under these circumstances, where the employee fails to notify the employer through the established overtime record-keeping system, the failure to pay overtime is not a FLSA violation. (Citations omitted)

Employers are well advised to implement clear, reasonable and mandatory full hours tracking and recording obligations and an in house system to track all employee hours. 

Bitcoin Is Good!

I’ve been following BitCoin for some time now with great interest.  Most recently, I’ve become involved in a new start up venture that will work in the BitCoin space.

There is certainly a wealth of criticism and pessimism about BitCoin – all easily found on the internet – exspoused by naysayers who, frankly, are mostly prone to critic there own fundamental misunderstanding about the nature, core and significance of the BitCoin Protocol.

Below is a link to an excellent counter-point to one recent New York Times columnist. Granted, this rebuttal is authored by the CEO of a major first entrant into the BitCoin business space. But, then, maybe that simply underscores that he “gets it”.

Stay tuned for lots more about this.

Bitcoin Is Good | Re/code.

When Your Healthcare Claim Is “Denied”

You have Health Care Insurance – CHECK

You saw your Doctor – CHECK

He wants to run some tests – CHECK

You try to get pre-approval of your tests – DENIED:(

You get the test anyway and submitted your insurance claim – DENIED!

Lost in the Health Care Debacle debate is the dirty little secret of the Health Care Industry. And, sadly, this has nothing to do with ObamaCare.  This game has been played for decades.  Your insurance company is NOT in the business of taking care of you.  They are in the business of spending less, not more, on your health care. So, they will routinely deny approval of medical tests that you and your doctor deem prudent, and they will routinely deny coverage for expenses that you have incurred.

Unfortunately, many people stop there! Effectively denied sometimes critical health care.

This is a numbers game.  The insurance companies know that if they deny 10 approval requests for claims, only one or two of those insureds will protest, appeal, re-apply and/or fight for the coverage they are entitled to.  In the end, the loud protestor gets the treatment and care they deserve.  The meek suffer what is effectively the de facto rationing of health care by your    own insurance company.

The link below is to a great article from Forbes that lays out the steps you can – and MUST – take to protect yourself and get the care to which you are entitled.

  • Find out WHY you were denied and determine if you can correct any of those reasons.
  • Recruit your health care providers to advocate on your behalf in pursuing approval of the denial.
  • Apply again, re-apply, appeal, protect and threaten to sue!
  • Keep complete and accurate records of everything.
  • Find out how much the denied care “really costs” and negotiate for the best, contract and discounted rate available.

It is hard to live in a world where you have to fight with everybody for everything, especially when you are sick or injured. But the Health Care System is not going to get easy or accommodating anytime soon.  It is a battlefield. Those that understand this and approach the consumption of health care with the right attitude and tools are among the few that will get the care and treatment that they want, need and deserve.

The 5 Things You Should Know When Your Healthcare Claim Is “Denied” – Forbes.