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Employment Law: Docking Pay

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Employment Law: Docking Pay

If an employee is a salaried exempt employee, there are situations when an employer may dock that employee’s pay. However, this is generally illegal in employment law, and doing so may cause an exempt employee to become eligible for overtime. Let’s take a look at when exempt employees may have their pay docked.

Employee Is Out of Work Due to FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act allows employees to take time off to care for a sick relative or to tend to their own medical issues. In many cases, this means that an employee works fewer than 40 hours a week or on an irregular schedule. During the time in which FMLA leave is being used, an employee may be converted from salaried to a part-time worker without penalty.

Employee Has Quit During the Middle of a Week

If an employee quits his or her job during the middle of a workweek, that employee does not need to be paid for the entire week. The same rule applies if a worker starts his or her employment during the middle of a week. However, for the rest of the employee’s time with the company, he or she cannot be docked pay based on hours or days worked.

Employees Must Be Paid if They Are Willing to Work

If a company doesn’t have enough work for a salaried worker to do, that employee may not have his or her pay reduced by an employer. As long as the employee is willing to work and shows up as scheduled, he or she must receive a full paycheck for that week. In some cases, an employer may be able to avoid paying employees if they do not work at all during the week.

Safety Violations May Call for a Deduction

Employees who are cited for safety violations may have any fines deducted from their paycheck. It may also be possible to deduct pay for any days of work missed due to these violations. In the event that a worker misses less than a full day because of disciplinary reasons, it may not be possible to dock pay.

The rules surrounding docking the pay of an exempt employee can be complex and confusing. Generally, if the worker shows up, is ready to work and does his or her job properly, there is usually no reason to withhold any of his or her pay.

If you have been unfairly docked wages, there may be help for you. Contact Goldman & Ehrlich today online or call 312-332-6733. 

Religious and Personal Conviction Does Not Justify Harassment

In August 2015, Judge Weinstein of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, supported a ruling against UPS which was based on claims of harassment and discrimination of a lesbian employee by a manager.

The judge’s ruling include the statement: “[As] the nation’s understanding and acceptance of sexual orientation evolve, so does the law’s definition of appropriate behavior in the workplace…the jury found improper under the law repeated ‘advice’ from plaintiff’s supervisor that her sexual orientation as a lesbian was evil and need to be changed in accordance with religious dictates. Appeals to the bible, or theology generally, cannot justify management’s condoning the harassing of a lesbian in the workplace. Defendant’s central administration failed to protect plaintiff from such abuse.”

According to the recent court decision, the plaintiff, a woman named Tameeka Roberts, was commissioned to work under “Bob W”, her manager. Over the next few years, Bob admonished Ms. Roberts that the Bible prohibited her type of lifestyle and repeatedly told her she was evil. He also reportedly told her that she was “going to hell” and that her behavior was unnatural. After Ms. Roberts had made many complaints to her union, HR and other UPS managers, she was finally informed that Bob’s behavior was not considered a violation of UPS harassment code. This decision was confirmed in court by several UPS executives. Eventually, Ms. Roberts claimed that Bob became angry with her for seeking help and retaliated by changing her time card and occasionally hitting her with packages. Tameeka Roberts eventually quit her job and claimed constructive damage.

The District Court, during its affirmation of the jury’s verdict, explained in great detail, the history of LGBT legal rights and protections and explored the debate in the law concerning whether Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Judge Weinstein noted that Ms. Robert’s allegations of “discriminatory comments about plaintiff’s sexual orientation made over a number of years, show adverse differential treatment. So too do the significant failures of supervisors to protect plaintiff against discrimination.”

There are several lessons employers can glean from this case. You cannot ignore claims presented to you about supervisors making negative or offensive comments to lesbian, gay or transgender employees. Additionally, you should ensure that every member on the Human Resource staff understands that importance of your discrimination and harassment policies. Remember, as society changes, the workplace must change as well. Don’t let your workplace fall behind the times. Taking the time to ensure that LGBT harassment doesn’t occur will pay itself off in the long run.

If you have questions about discriminatory practices in your workplace, Goldman & Ehrlich has answers for both workers and employers. Contact us online or call us at (312)332-6733.