Working Overtime without Prior Authorization

Working Overtime without Prior Authorization

Q.  My non-exempt employee worked overtime without prior authorization. Do I have to pay them for the extra hours worked even if they were not approved and this violates our company policy?

A.  Yes, the employer is required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to pay a non-exempt or hourly employee for hours worked even if the employer has a policy which states any overtime hours worked must be authorized in advance.

The employer’s recourse in this case would be to use a progressive disciplinary process since the employee did not comply with their company policy by having the extra hours pre-authorized.  Progressive discipline can include a verbal warning, written warning, disciplinary suspension or termination of employment.  Generally, a verbal warning and gentle reminder of the policy should help to address this concern.