Employment-Tenth Circuit Holds That FLSA Claim For Overtime Fails Because Employee Did Not Use Employer’s Timekeeping System To Report Work Hours

In Brown v. ScriptPro, LLC, No. 11-3293 (10th Cir. 2012), the plaintiff, Frank Brown (“Brown”), had filed suit against his former employer, ScriptPro, LLC (“ScriptPro”), claiming that the termination of his employment by ScriptPro violated, among other things, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of ScriptPro, and Brown appealed.

In the case, Brown claimed to have performed 80 hours of overtime work at home. He did not record this time in ScriptPro’s KRONOS timekeeping system, or otherwise report these hours on time sheets. ScriptPro’s employee handbook does not specify how to report overtime. However, it does require employees like Brown to turn in time sheets recording hours worked. ScriptPro never paid Brown for the 80 hours of overtime. ScriptPro later terminated Brown for certain unresolved performance issues. Brown then filed a suit in district court under the FLSA, in order to receive payment for the 80 hours of overtime work he allegedly performed at home.

In analyzing the case, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Court”) said that, to succeed on an FLSA claim for unpaid overtime, the plaintiff, such as Brown, has the burden of proving that he performed work for which he was not properly compensated. This means that Brown’s burden is to produce sufficient evidence to show the amount and extent of that work as a matter of just and reasonable inference. At the summary judgment stage-which is where the case was at the time- Brown must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial. Here, Brown failed to show the amount of overtime by justifiable or reasonable inference. He chose not to enter any of the hours he allegedly worked from home in ScriptPro’s timekeeping system, or otherwise keep any other record of these hours. ScriptPro keeps accurate records of hours worked, and employees can even access the KRONOS timekeeping system from home. There, Brown easily could have entered his hours. The Court ruled that, under these circumstances, where the employee fails to notify the employer through the established overtime record-keeping system, the failure to pay overtime is not a FLSA violation. As such, the Court affirmed the district court’s summary judgment on the FLSA claim.