The number of unpaid overtime lawsuits have significantly increased locally in the past several years.  Why is this?  What can an employer do to reduce unpaid overtime litigation exposure in San Diego?  The answer begins with local Courts who tend to favor the employee position in these matters.  This has emboldened plaintiffs actions and led to a double digit increase in the number of these cases filed annually in our area.

What actions can you take to reduce unpaid overtime litigation exposure and protect valuable company resources?  The Watkins Firm provides specific counsel to our business employer clients beginning with the employment contract and offer letter, continuing through the employee handbook and extending into company policies and procedures.  You will need to consider access to critical company systems such as voicemail, email and application servers after designated work hours.

The strategy is to clearly establish and communicate your company policy regarding overtime pay and associated laws before the employee is ever hired.  Your offer letter should contain clear verbiage specifying the requirement to obtain written permission from your direct supervisor in advance of working any overtime hours.  This should be reflected and clearly addressed in the employment contract itself.  One of the first issues addressed while onboarding the new employee is payment of overtime, when they qualify and the steps they must take to receive advanced written permission to work it.  These procedures and policies must be added to existing policy and procedures manuals as well as the employee manual of existing workers.  Have a small update conference internally, take attendance, and ensure employees sign an acknowledgement that they have received and understand the new policies.

Work with your internal management and IT staff to consider access to company systems after work hours.  Your IT staff should develop strategies to identify non-exempt employees who access these systems after-hours so that written action can be taken.  Finally, the time card itself may be modified to compel employees to certify under penalty of perjury that the hours they are reporting are a complete, transparent and full representation and accounting of the actual time worked during the associated pay period.  It is possible to reduce unpaid overtime litigation exposure while increasing employee satisfaction and performance.

We invite you to contact the Watkins Firm to learn more and to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys at 858-535-1511.

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