Tayeb Hyderally has many years of experience in the field of employment law. He first chose this field of legal practice because of its broad diversity and many facets. Ty Hyderally frequently shares his expertise in the field of employment law as a keynote speaker for many types of corporations and organizations. His intent is to help employees and employers alike to have the knowledge to be able to maintain a safe workplace for everyone. Tayeb Hyderally shares his knowledge of the law at the corporate level by helping establish proper protocol and policies to ensure that the workplace is free of discriminatory actions on every level. There are many different facets of employment law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) is just one aspect. It is important for employees and employers to be aware of company policies regarding how wages are calculated and that some automatic meal deduction systems can be within the guidelines of the FSLA.
White v. Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp.
Margaret White worked as a nurse at Baptist Memorial Health Care. According to the employee handbook provided by Baptist Memorial Health Care, employees who worked shifts that were 6 or more hours in length would receive a meal break that was unpaid. The meal break would automatically be deducted from their pay check. Employees were also instructed that if they worked all the way through a designated meal break, or if they were interrupted during the meal break for a work related reason they were to complete an “exception log.” When the employee filled in the time in the exception log, they would then be compensated for the time that they worked during the meal break.
Initially, Margaret White logged the time she worked through her meal breaks in the exception log, but eventually she began to report the meal breaks that she missed due to work. She spoke with the human resource department as well as her supervisors frequently about having to miss meal breaks but did not inform them that she was not being paid for the missed meal breaks. White also failed to use the proper procedure that was clearly defined by Baptist Memorial Health Care in reporting and correcting payroll errors concerning her unpaid meal breaks or interrupted meal breaks.
Ms. White filed a law suit against Baptist Memorial claiming that they were in violation of FLSA by failing to pay for the time she worked during breaks. She moved for conditional class certification stating that the company was violating FLSA by failing to compensate all their employees for missed meal breaks. The court did grant in part the motion for class certification. But the district court sided with the company and granted Baptist Memorial’s motions for class decertification and summary judgment. At this time, White filed an appeal.
The Court ruled on November 6, 2012 and stated that when a company (or employer) has an established and reasonable process through which employees can report work time that has been uncompensated, they are not liable for failure to pay the employee who did not properly follow the process. The court also noted that according to the FLSA it is lawful for a system to automatically deduct meal breaks. When there is a clearly outlined system for reporting time that is worked during unpaid breaks and the employee does not follow the procedure the employer can only be liable if they prevent or discourage the employee from reporting the time they worked; or if they were otherwise notified of the unreported work and should have known about the work time.