Tuesday, November 14, 2023

If you’re going to change an employee’s time sheet, make sure it’s an accurate change

🟩 LEGAL: Disciplining or firing a non-exempt employee who works unauthorized overtime.

🟥 ILLEGAL: Failing to pay a non-exempt employee for all hours worked, whether authorized or unauthorized.

🟩 LEGAL: Altering a non-exempt employee's time sheet so that it accurately reflects the actual number of hours worked.

🟥 ILLEGAL: Altering a non-exempt employee's time sheet to reflect a flat 40 hours per work week, no matter how many hours the employee actually worked.

A lawsuit recently filed against Liberty University will test each of these legal principles.

Kevin Fortier claims that the university capped him and other intramural sports coordinators at 40 hours per work week, would never pay them for any more than 40 hours no matter how many hours they actually worked, and would retroactively alter time sheets so that they reflected no more than 40 hours worked per week.

Before filing suit, Fortier provided the university with a letter detailing his concerns, which stated, in part: 

The limits on our hours and the requirements of our jobs have led multiple employees to have to work hours without compensation. One such occasion that I can remember that happened recently was when I had to cover a women's flag football tournament where both the student manager and I had the majority of our hours eliminated from that event. I have not documented every change to my time sheets at Liberty University, but attached will be some of the screenshots that can prove these actions have been occurring.

The response of Liberty's EVP of HR: "We are looking into this. Thanks for sending everything over! We will get with you if we need anything else." Liberty, however, never responded further.

There is nothing unlawful or illegal about amending an employee's time sheets so that they accurately reflect the amount of time the employee actually worked. When those changes, however, all reflect the same, flat, 40-hour work week across the board, accuracy becomes a very difficult argument for an employer to make.