Wage and Hour Matters
Bates Group’s team works closely with cities, counties, regional 9-1-1 dispatch centers and their attorneys to help resolve public employer-employee and union wage and hour matters.
We have helped public employers throughout California evaluate whether or not their compensation practices are compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and/or provisions of employee contracts, so they can have sufficient information to respond to employee grievances/complaints, prepare for labor negotiations, or prepare for litigation. We work closely with outside counsel or public agency attorneys to examine and analyze timekeeping and payroll records to assist public agencies:
- Assess whether or not they have compensated their employees in compliance with the FLSA for either specific groups (such as law enforcement or fire protection) or for all departments. Our work involves performing a detailed re-calculation of overtime compensation for every FLSA work period, to compare to compensation actually paid, in order to determine any potential underpayment. This includes evaluating the public agency’s calculations of stipends/add-on/special pays, calculating FLSA hours worked per work period, and re-calculating the FLSA “regular rate" of pay.
- Assess whether or not the public agency has compensated their employees in compliance with certain provisions of bargaining unit contracts/agreements. It is common for there to be differences in the way overtime hours are quantified and how compensation is calculated under the contract versus the FLSA.
Examples of Our Work
- A County in California with over 1,000 non-exempt employees hired us after employee groups expressed concerns about a specific form of compensation not being included in the County’s calculation of the FLSA regular rate of pay. The employee groups included fire protection and law enforcement, whose FLSA work periods for calculating FLSA overtime were 24 days and 28 days, respectively. Using timekeeping and payroll data, we performed detailed calculations of any unpaid FLSA overtime compensation for all non-exempt County employees active during a 4-year period. This included calculating potential underpayment of accrued compensatory time off that had been cashed out. We presented results to outside counsel, certain County supervisory employees and union representatives.
- A City in California hired us after an employee group expressed concerns that contractual overtime was not compensated correctly during pay periods where a holiday occurred. Two timekeeping systems were used to track and compensate time which led to further skepticism about the accuracy of the calculations of compensation. We assessed the differences between the timekeeping systems. We were asked to calculate potential unpaid wages for a 5-year period under almost 15 different scenarios, which took into account both timekeeping sources, two bargaining unit agreements effective during period, and included assessing potential underpayment of FLSA overtime compensation. We presented the results to the City Attorney and the union representatives.
- A 9-1-1 dispatch center in California with approximately 70 non-exempt employees hired us after discovering that its calculation of the FLSA regular rate of pay and its contractual overtime rate of pay did not include specific forms of special pay. Most of the employees worked a 9/80 schedule and so had “alternative” FLSA workweeks. Utilizing handwritten timecards and payroll data, we calculated any unpaid contractual and FLSA overtime wages for a 3-year period.
Bates provides expert consulting and testifying services involving the calculation of potential unpaid wages and penalties related to overtime, meal and rest break violations, travel time, off-the-clock time, minimum wage violations, and expense reimbursement. We have assisted attorneys in every stage of the litigation process related to wage and hour disputes for those arising under the California Labor Code, Fair Labor Standards Act, and PAGA.