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As employment law constantly changes, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman stay up to date on the law as it develops. Our blog topics focus on those changes and what you need to know about them, ranging from severance agreements and the FLSA to social media in the workplace and recent court decisions. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts in Recordkeeping.

GavelIn our last two posts, we discussed terminating an employee and the importance of documentation. Earlier this week, in an opinion issued by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, Employers were provided with another example of why documentation is so important in the employer/employee relationship.  

The Case

The facts of the case are fairly straightforward: (1) Employee was terminated due to poor performance; (2) At the time she was terminated she was also pregnant; (3) Employee filed a lawsuit claiming pregnancy discrimination under Title VII. 

The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor recently released a timesheet application on the Apple iTunes store.  On May 9, 2011, “DOL – Timesheet” became available for download.  The application allows employees to keep track of hours worked and amount of pay owed including overtime.  Through the app, employees are able to maintain an “electronic timecard” where they click to clock-in and out, record breaks, enter comments, receive a summary and even send the summary via email.

Optimized-DOL - Timesheet.jpg

While the application contains many features, it also possesses several significant limitations.  The “app” does not have the capability to take into account items such as tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, and holiday pay.  Still, in a press release from the Department of Labor, Secretary Hilda L. Solis praised the app stating “this app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.” 

Currently, the app is only available for iPhone and iPod Touch.  The Department of Labor has plans to make versions available for Blackberry and Android users in the future. 

Since its release there has been quite a bit of commentary about its usefulness.  As of today the app has a rating of 3.5 stars out of a possible 5 in Apple’s app store.   Many of the ratings come from two extremes – users either love the app or they despise it.  Comments ranged from “simple and efficient”, “easy interface” to complaints about how the app will lead to increased complaints from employees.

While the app will be helpful for some employees, the results produced will only be as accurate as the data entered.  Employers could face increased complaints over alleged miscalculations in time worked due to an employee’s failure to record time in the app at the same time as they clock-in and out for work. 

Additionally, the release of the app signifies the importance of ensuring that employees are fully aware of employer payroll policies.  Taking a proactive approach in refreshing employees on timekeeping policies and ensuring that recordkeeping is adequate, complete and in compliance with State and Federal law will go a long way towards avoiding future issues and complaints.