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Progressive Business Publications dock employee pay for bathroom breaks...A whole new meaning to the term Revenue Stream

Posted by Barry Rubin on 6/4/2014 to Tips and Resources
Telemarketing workers at Progressive Business Publications taking a break for the bathroom was expensive.

The workers had their pay docked bringing their wages below the federal minimum wage. The damages will equal nearly two million dollars and could have been avoided with a computerized time clock system that allowed for short breaks to not be tabulated as paid non-worked time.

A federal judge recently found the defendants in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, are liable for pay back wages resulting from these unpaid breaks, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages.

6,000 employees who worked throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio are due at least $1.75 million in back wages and liquidated damages.

"For far too long, American Future Systems penalized its employees for taking breaks to meet the most basic needs…The judge's decision reaffirms how clear the FLSA is about short breaks being compensable.” during the work day — stretching their legs, getting a glass of water or just using the restroom," said Jim Cain, district director for the department's Wage and Hour Division.

The Wage and Hour Division advised the company that the practice violated the law, but the employer failed to comply. The court found the company also violated FLSA recordkeeping requirements, a common problem that any SaaS based or On Premise Time Clock System would have solved.

"Rehabilitative breaks have always been considered compensable time under the law," said Oscar L. Hampton, the department's regional solicitor in Philadelphia. "This action underscores how aggressively we plan to enforce the law to ensure that workers receive the proper wages."