Almost all employers are business people. They are used to credits and debits in handling and accounting for commercial accounts, they are used to the application of credit in one transaction to make up for a shortfall in another. A customer over pays for a delivery in March but under pays by the same amount for a delivery in April. Most businesses are satisfied to have the debit in one month offset the credit in another. A recent Third Circuit Court of Appeals case reminds employers that payments to employees can only rarely be treated in the same way as commercial accounts.
In Smiley v. DuPont, plaintiffs in a class action unpaid wage lawsuit, claimed that they had not been paid wages and overtime for time spent “donning and doffing” equipment and apparel necessary to perform work. DuPont sought to offset this allegedly unpaid work time by pointing to the fact that DuPont voluntarily paid its workers for meal periods. That voluntary lunch payment is not required by law. Thus, DuPont argued that the voluntary meal period payment should offset any wages not paid for “donning and doffing” time.
Find out if the trial court agreed with DuPont’s analysis by visiting the HRUSA blog post at http://blog.hrusa.com/blog/unpaid-work-time-is-not-offset-by-voluntary-payment/.