Employer knowledge of work makes it compensable, even when not listed on a timesheet

How do you prove you worked?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must compensate employees for any work that the employer did “suffer or permit” the employee to perform. It is a highly debatable standard that is often contested by workers who are classified as exempt employees, but seek compensation for overtime work that they performed. This was the situation in a case recently decided by the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

The plaintiff in the case presented evidence that management changed his timesheets or instructed him to change his timesheets for the purpose of decreasing the amount of hours worked.  The court ruled against the employer, stating that the work was compensable if it was done with the employer’s knowledge, regardless of what is represented on a timesheet.

The significance of the ruling

The ruling is especially relevant to employees who wonder whether they can ever be paid for work that wasn’t recorded, and for employers who look to shield themselves by arguing that the information on a timesheet protects them against allegations of unpaid work. At least one court recognizes the inequity and ruled that, even with a completed timesheet that does not reflect off-the-clock work, an employee can present evidence regarding additional work hours for payment.

If you have a question about timekeeping practices and FLSA compliance, reach out to our office today to speak with an experienced attorney.