You may have read about the turmoil BOLI caused by suddenly changing its interpretation of overtime laws governing employees in manufacturing facilities. If you’re not aware of the issue, check out our most recent Business and Employment Law Newsletter. In an nutshell, for decades BOLI had been telling manufacturers to pay either the higher of either daily overtime over 10 hours in day, or weekly overtime over 40 hours in week, for each given workweek. In December, BOLI did an about face with little public notice. BOLI said its past interpretation was wrong, and that manufacturers needed to pay both daily and weekly overtime, which could result in an employee being paid overtime twice for the same hour of work. This same issue was playing out at the same time in a class action filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Recently, the judge rejected BOLI’s interpretation and said that its old interpretation was the correct way to apply the two overtime laws. Although this decision does not settle the issue because the trial court decision is only binding on the parties in that particular lawsuit, it does provide legal authority to push back if a claim is brought alleging unpaid overtime under BOLI’s new interpretation. The decision is certain to be appealed, at which point we should get a binding decision about how to apply the laws. The legislature may also act to clarify the issue. In the meantime, manufacturers should consult with their employment lawyers about their overtime pay practices and the risks involved.
Mar 24, 2017