Should you get paid for talking to your boss on the phone after hours? Yes, according to a federal appeals courts, which recently upheld the dismissal of a supervisor employed at a Walmart store in Minnesota who was fired for violating company policy that prohibits off-the-clock work.
In its decision, the court also noted that the company was right to pay the employee for talking with her supervisor while she was off the clock.
The call took place after a supervisor, an African American woman, complained that other employees and the store manager were biased against her, which led to an investigation of allegations against the supervisor.
During the course of the dispute, one employee asked the supervisor to call and "let her know how she was doing," HR Cafe reports.
The result was a 90-minute conversation between the worker and the supervisor discussing a mix of personal and work-related issues.
When the store manager learned of the call, he insisted that the hourly employee be paid for her time on the phone, since the women chatted at least some of the time about work -- and the supervisor was fired for violating company policy.
The supervisor sued, but was rebuffed by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Not only did the company correctly apply its policy, the court said, it was to be applauded for its efforts to ensure that its managers respected the Fair Labor Standards Act.
HR Cafe sums up the case this way: Though you can't ban all supervisor-employee talk outside of work, such discussions are best held within the office and during working hours.
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