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Labor and Employment Law

The Sixth Circuit and Overtime: Uh Oh

 In Moran v. Al Basit LLC , the 6th Circuit  posed the question of whether plaintiff's testimony is sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment where plaintiff presented no other evidence with respect to the amount of overtime he worked [an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers]. The court answered in the affirmative and reversed the summary judgment that the district court had entered.

A dispute arose between an employee and his employer over entitlement to overtime. The employee claimed he worked regularly worked 65-68 hours in a six day work week. The employer claimed that he never worked more than 30 hours a week. It supported its position with pay stubs and time sheets which one of the owners completed by watching the security film footage to determine when employees arrived and left.

The court reviewed its earlier decisions concerning the sufficiency of testimony to create a genuine dispute of material fact despite the absence of corroborating evidence for the plaintiff. The court stated that the defendants failed to cite any 6th Circuit precedent to the contrary and rejected the out of circuit cases. The plaintiff put forward testimony that contradicted that of the defendants, describing his typical work schedule with some specificity and estimating that he worked 65-68 hours a week on average. The contradictory testimony created a genuine issue of material fact.

The court's decision should send chills through employers who do not use a more formal and reliable time keeping system. At a minimum, employers need to re-visit how hours are recorded and verified. The significance of the decision will not be lost on employees or their counsel.

 For additional Labor and Employment law insights from John Holmquist, visit the Michigan Employment Law Connection.

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