Do you employ both exempt and non-exempt employees? If so you likely know that exempt employees are usually those in salaried and professional positions who are not eligible for overtime pay. Non-exempt employees are those who are paid hourly and are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week. 

Sometimes the line between these two categories can get blurred. Exempt employees may feel that their extra work deserves overtime pay. Non-exempt may feel that their overtime work isn't being compensated fairly. If a group of employees feels this way, you could face an overtime pay lawsuit. These cases are very difficult to win once they have been filed. Often the best defense is to prevent the lawsuit from happening in the first place. Below are a few tips to make sure you don't face an overtime lawsuit:

Review job descriptions and tasks regularly.

It's common for workers to take on tasks outside of their normal job descriptions. They may pick up the slack in other departments or fill in for missing roles. They may have to start traveling more than is typical for their position. When this happens, it can become unclear whether they are truly exempt or non-exempt. It's helpful to regularly audit your job descriptions and the actual work that is being conducted. If an employee is now doing work that should entitle them to overtime, pay them the overtime. Very often these lawsuits happen because tasks and duties changed, but job descriptions and exempt status did not.

Train your supervisors.

Another common cause of lawsuits is a supervisor behaving in a way that goes against the company's overtime policy. The supervisor may force workers to work without documenting their overtime hours. Or they may tell workers to clock out but keep working. Workers will often go along with this because they don't want to risk losing their job. Hold regular education sessions with your supervisors to train them on your overtime policy. Then if they act in a way that goes against the policy, you can show that you did your part to train them and they were acting on their own.

Keep detailed records.

If an overtime lawsuit arises, documentation and video are your best friends. Keep detailed records of when your employees clocked in and out for work. Keep mileage records for any travel. Video can also be helpful to demonstrate when employees were in your facility and when they were not. If employees bring a suit and you have nothing to back up your claims, you will likely have to settle the suit and make a payment. Documentation is the best evidence to rebut an overtime lawsuit.

Facing an overtime lawsuit? Contact an overtime pay attorney today to plan your defense.