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Forced Overtime + Last Paycheck questions - Washington

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  • Forced Overtime + Last Paycheck questions - Washington

    Hi all,

    A salaried employee was told that she would need to adjust her schedule to perform 48-hour work weeks without any additional compensation. When she declined, she was immediately terminated and her last paycheck does not include vacation time that was part of the company's benefits package.

    Is there any legal liability for the employer in this scenario?

  • #2
    Salaried is only a pay method and has no legal standing of its own. Is the employee exempt or non-exempt?

    Does the company have a policy or contract promising the payout of unused vacation at termination?
    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.

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    • #3
      What would the outcome be for an exempt employee versus a non-exempt employee?

      The place in question is a kind of Mom and Pop company that was purchased and had ownership replaced, so no handbooks or documentation referencing vacation time being paid out exist.

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      • #4
        I'm not where I can access my cheat sheets on vacation payouts, but if I remember correctly, the state of Washington does not require the unconditional payout of unused vacation time but only requires the payout if there is a policy that specifically says it will be. And I'm pretty sure I remember correctly because one of my biggest clients is based in Washington and I remember reviewing this with them.

        If the employee is exempt, then requiring them to work additional hours without additional compensation is completely legal. An exempt employee is never entitled to additional compensation over and above their regular salary regardless of the number of hours they work.

        If the employee is non-exempt, then depending on whether the salary constitutes at least minimum wage times hours worked, plus time and a half for any hours over 40; also what, if any, agreement as to the exact rate of pay exists. What you describe is not illegal per se for non-exempt employees; it may or may not be depending on the exact details.
        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.

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        • #5
          Washngton state does not require payout of earned vacation at the time of termination or leaving of their own accord.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the confirmation.
            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.

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