Employers in Connecticut (and other states) have a whole host of notices that must go up in a common meeting area for employees to see.
But what happens when an employer forgets to do the postings, or, worse, purposely avoids putting those posters up?
A recent federal case in Connecticut addresses that question with important ramifications for the employer in a wage & hour case.
(Why, you may be asking, is there a “Lin” pun in an article about wage & hour law? Well, New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin isn’t the only one with the last name; the relevant case is Lin v. Brennan, which you can download here.)
In Lin, several restaurant workers sued the owners of the now-defunct Mianus River Tavern claiming back overtime wages. The defendants raised an affirmative defense that some of the wage claims older than three years were barred by the applicable statute of limitations.
The court rejected that argument saying that defense could be waived by a theory called “equitable tolling.” In other words, Defendants don’t get to avail themselves of that defense because of something they did.
Here, that “something” was that they failed to comply with the posting requirements of the wage & hour laws. Therefore, the court said defendants could not use that defense as a shield against the claims.
[T]hat statute of limitations is subject to equitable tolling because Defendants never posted any notice explaining the FSLA to their employees. Asp v. Milardo Photography, Inc., 573 F. Supp. 2d 677, 695-96 (D. Conn. 2008). Such a failure is sufficient to warrant tolling, especially when the employees have difficulty speaking English. See Yu G. Ke v. Saigon Grill, 595 F. Supp. 2d 240, 259 (S.D.N.Y. 2008).
Why is this important to employers? Because complying with the posting requirements is cheap compared to a wage & hour claim. State and federal agencies allow employers to download the notices for free (or order them from the agency.) A number of reputable companies also offer all-in-one compliance posters for less than $100.
As the case shows, it’s “Linsane” for employers to ignore these posting obligations, particularly when the consequences can be severe. For more “Linformation”, check out the various government websites or consult with your attorney.
And if these puns aren’t enough for you, check out David Letterman’s Top Ten List from last night.