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Multiple Labor Violations in Connecticut?

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  • Multiple Labor Violations in Connecticut?

    I am currently employed as the handler of a service dog for a company based in Connecticut. I have a series of questions because I think something is seriously amiss and I know that all of the employees are under similar circumstances. Any advice is welcome.

    -At this time, I am required by my job to drive anywhere between Massachussetts and, of late, Virginia for my job. My employer does not consider the hours spent in transit as working hours. If I am no longer a salaried employee, does my employer need to compensate me for driving time for work purposes?

    -Until recently, I was driving my personal car for jobs, and my employer was reimbursing me at the rate of .10 per mile, which is .33 below the IRS' accepted rate. Is this legal, and if not, do I have recourse? I logged over 100,000 miles on my own car.

    -I am required to pay for all costs incurred while on the road for food (even when I am required to stay overnight, or am leaving my home before 6 AM and not arriving back before 8 PM). When I recently broached this with my employer, I was told that they would provide $10 per meal as a courtesy, but only when I was required to stay overnight. What is the accepted rate for meals, and if I am traveling distances that do not allo for the storage of foods, is this allowed?

    -Yesterday, I received an e-mail telling me that I was taken from salaried employed to "pay-per-day" but have not been informed of my wage. Leading up to this e-mail, I called several times but was not given an answer about whether or not this had changed. Are they allowed to reduce my pay even though they did not inform me of changes in pay/salary until more than halway through the pay period?

    PLEASE! Any and all help is welcome. I can poke holes in a range of their business tactics based exclusively on Connecticut Labor Law, but fear that I will be fired if I approach my employer with any of this information. I am unsure of how to move forward, and while I am looking for a new job, I want to make sure I am being paid fairly and correctly.

    Thank you.

  • #2
    1.) Salaried is only a pay method and means nothing in and of itself. What matters is exempt and non-exempt. Not all salaried employees are exempt; not all exempt employees are salaried. Which are you?

    2.) In 48 states, including CT, the employer is not required to pay you for mileage at all. They are free to pay at less than the IRS rate; they are free to pay nothing at all, if they so choose.

    3.) The accepted rate for meals is whatever the employer wants to pay. As above, the employer is not require to pay for meals when you travel except in CA and MA, and not always in MA.

    4.) No, they cannot reduce your wage for hours already worked. However, until you actually receive a paycheck in which you are paid the lower rate for hours worked before the notification, no violation has taken place.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      In CT, if my job requires that I drive to complete employment duties, my employer IS responsible for paying for my hours traveling. Isnt that correct?


      • #4
        That depends on whether you are exempt or non-exempt. If you are exempt, there are no circumstances whatsoever under which you are legally due additional pay for travel after hours. In any state. This is Federal law, and to my knowledge no state has implemented a law that grants pay for travel time to exempt employees.

        If you are non-exempt, then some or all of the travel time may be compensable. Patty or DAW will have to provide you with the details.
        Last edited by cbg; 04-25-2011, 09:55 AM.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


        • #5
          Lets assume that you are non-exempt (likely but not certain based on what you have said so far).
          - On a workweek basis, you must be paid at least minimum wage and must be paid overtime if applicable.
          - While there is no federal legal requirement that you be reimbursed expenses, there is a federal requirement that you be paid minimum wage "free and clear" of unreimbursed expenses. So if you are paid at or near MW, this might effect you.
          - Which leaves hours worked. The related regulations are 29 CFR 785.33-785.41 (see below). You need to read those regulations. The major rule is the Portal-to-Portal Act. That is an actual law that says commutes are not hours worked. It is very hard to get around this particular law with it's clear legal intent.

          - Let's say Bob travels Home-SiteA-SiteB-SiteC-Home. The trips to/from Bob's home are almost certainly not hours worked. The travel time between the work sites however probably is hours worked. HOWEVER, you still need to actual read the regulations and see what the actual rules says.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)