Ask the Legal: Do I have to pay a non-exempt employee who works overtime without authorization?
Yes. The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is the federal law that governs payment of wages, including overtime. Unless an employee is exempt from the Act, the law requires that employers pay employees overtime for all hours worked in excess of forty hours in any workweek. It is prudent for employers to have a policy in place that requires supervisory approval before an employee works overtime. It is also important that the policy include a provision for disciplinary action if an employee works overtime without authorization. So, even though an employer must pay an employee who works unauthorized overtime; the employer can discipline that employee up to and including termination depending on the severity and frequency of the occurrences.
As appeared in: Pittsburgh Business Times, 2/15/2013