Friday, June 8, 2012

Perfect Overtime Defense: Plaintiff Never Worked Here! - COTW #95

Navigating overtime pay can be a mine field for employers. Are you properly classifying employees as exempt/non-exempt? Which activities constitute "work" under the FLSA? How are the hours and mandatory overtime pay calculated?

But you know who unquestionably does not receive overtime pay? People who don't work for you! In an almost-unbelievable story, a plaintiff filed an overtime lawsuit against her "employer"... but it turns out she never worked there.

The woman who filed the lawsuit was actually on the payroll at one point and was paid $21,218. But strangely, "no one had hired her, and no one remembered her ever working" there. Throw in a payroll coordinator who turned out to be a thief, now on 20 years probation and paying restitution, and a boyfriend (and co-plaintiff) who worked there . . . and I think we can guess what was going on here.

It also turns out that the plaintiff had another full-time job at the same time she claimed she was working for the defendant. She "said she sometimes did work for Miller's company by telephone while she was physically at her job in Pasco County." Riiiight. And that leads to this exhange at her deposition:
"So you were getting paid for working at Southeast but also getting paid for working for [the defendant's company] at the same time?" attorney Siegel asked her.
"Yes," she said.
"And you see nothing ethically wrong with that?"
"How?"
She later developed a "headache" and had to stop the deposition. And then, the lawsuit was dismissed - but it will live on forever as the Lawffice Space Case of the Week!

HT: Donna Ballman via Twitter.