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Family Employers Who Fail To Pay Minimum Wage and Overtime Will Face Lawsuits

A former staff member is suing record producer and The Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Kandi Burruss. The plaintiff worked for the celebrity as a studio manager and event planner, as well as doing odd household jobs, from 2013 until he was terminated on-air in 2016.

The staffer alleges Burruss violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying him minimum wage or overtime. According to the lawsuit, the staff member worked up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week. However, he was allegedly only paid for five days of work per week. The plaintiff also alleges Burruss denied his request for fair pay. He is suing for back pay and benefits. Teresa Roca "Boss From Hell! 'Rhoa' Star Kandi Burruss Sued For Not Paying Overtime Wages," radar (Jan. 18, 2017).

Commentary and Checklist

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires family employers to pay staff overtime rates of one-and-a-half times the normal pay rate for hours worked over 40 per week. Although federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, many states have implemented higher minimum wage rates. If your state has a higher rate, you must adhere to your state’s minimum wage requirements.

Remember, employers must pay staff for all time they work or are required to be at work. This includes time staff must work outside of their scheduled shifts, such as shift-change overlap times or special requests to stay late. A best practice is to require staff to clock in or log in the moment they arrive at work and to clock in or log out after they have performed all work-related activities. 

Here are some additional ways family employers can prevent a wage and hour lawsuit:

  • Including meetings or times staff works through lunch as work hours, but remember some states require lunch time and other breaks.
  • Tell staff that they must not perform any work duties during unpaid meal periods and breaks.
  • Encourage staff members to talk with a manager if they feel they were not fairly compensated for hours worked.
  • Immediately address any wage and hour grievances raised by staff.
  • Keep thorough, contemporary records of hours worked and wages earned by staff and regularly evaluate staff pay to make sure it meets FLSA regulations.
  • Have each staff member sign off on their weekly time record to acknowledge it is correct.
  • Pay staff promptly and regularly.
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