Compensatory Time Lawsuits
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What Is Compensatory Time?
Compensatory time is a work arrangement wherein an employee is allowed to take time off in lieu of receiving overtime pay. It is also referred to as “time off in lieu,” “comp time,” and “compensatory time off.”
For instance, suppose that an employer requests an employee to perform some overtime work at the normal one-and-a-half rate for every hour after a 40-hour work week. Under a comp time arrangement, the worker might choose to forgo the overtime rate and take paid time off at a later date instead.
In the U.S., comp time arrangements are generally legal for public sector jobs, but they are generally considered to be illegal in private sector jobs. You may wish to check with your employer or with an attorney if you need help determining whether your job can legally allow comp time or not.
What Are Some Common Compensatory Time Violations and Disputes?
Compensatory time off is often seen as a benefit for employees, as it allows them a few more options in terms of their work schedules. However, this type of arrangement can be subject to certain legal issues and disputes, such as:
- Violation of Law: As mentioned above, compensatory time off is not allowed in every type of employment arrangement. Comp time arrangements that violate local, state, or federal laws are illegal and may result in legal consequences for violators.
- Discrimination: Denial of comp time based on a person’s age, race, sex, or other protected category may be considered discrimination.
- Wrongful Termination: Legal issues involving wrongful termination may result if an employee is fired for claiming comp time that they are legally entitled to.
Approval for comp time off is also subject to many different requirements and overtime exemptions under Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) provisions. Not all employees qualify automatically for compensatory time. This is often based on whether or not they qualify for overtime pay in the first place. Also, exact comp time provisions and arrangements may depend on the employer.
How Are Compensatory Time Conflicts Remedied?
Comp time conflicts can be resolved through filing a complaint with a government agency such as the Wages and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor. Filing a complaint with a government agency will lead to an investigation and a suggestion of a possible remedy for the worker. In terms of a possible remedy, the WHD may suggest that the employee be compensated for lost wages as applicable or require the employer to grant comp time if it was improperly denied.
Larger issues, such as those involving discrimination or those affecting many employees, may need to be filed with a different government agency such as the EEOC. Alternatively, a private lawsuit may be filed in cases where agency investigations do not result in a sufficient remedy.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Compensatory Time Laws?
Compensatory time and overtime laws can often be complex, as they are contain many details and exemptions. It may be to your advantage to hire an employment law attorney in your area if you have any questions or if you need any assistance with compensatory time issues. Your lawyer can provide you with legal research to help address your inquiries, and can also review employment contracts to determine your rights. If you need to file an agency claim or if you need to file a private lawsuit, your attorney can provide representation during those times as well.
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Last Modified: 07-14-2015 12:16 PM PDT
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