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What Tech Workers Need To Know About Overtime

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the exercising-independent-judgment dept.

The Almighty Buck 418

onehitwonder writes "The class-action lawsuit that current and former Apple employees have filed against the company raises questions about what kinds of workers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) — and thus, what kinds of workers are eligible for overtime pay. Some tech workers are covered under it; some are not though perhaps they should be. The lawyer who got IBM workers a $65M settlement from Big Blue for violating labor laws explains why employers often deny tech workers overtime pay and the circumstances under which certain tech workers may or may not be covered under the FLSA. From the article: 'It's not uncommon for employers to err on the side of classifying employees as exempt [from the FLSA], says Sagafi... In fact, the dirty little secret among employers and HR departments is that classifying employees as exempt — even if it means breaking the law — is in their best interest[,] provided... that they don't get caught... "In a sense, they may see it as economically viable for them to skirt the law and wait to see if they get sued because the exposure is not that huge [if they don't get sued]," Sagafi says. "If they can settle [a complaint] for less than 100 percent of what they owe people [for overtime], they've gotten away with a good deal."'"

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One solution (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578921)

Some government entities I know have simplified the exempt issue: only managers can be classified as exempt. All non-managers go by the clock. This removes most ambiguities and abuses. General labor law may also want to consider this (except in rare and well-documented circumstances).

Re:One solution (1, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578977)

Is there an actual codified definition of what constitutes a "manager"? If not, what would stop them from defining whoever they want (or everyone for that matter) as a "manager"?

Re:One solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579163)

RTFA - it answers your question

Re:One solution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579201)

From what I understand a manager is someone who has employees that report directly to them.

In an unrelated note on my own experiences.... At the small non-profit which I work at, they started off with only managers (typically directors and above) being exempt. In the past year some departments within the company have moved to having all of their employees exempt. Some of our departments exist because of government contracts, so I guess it makes things easier from a budget perspective to have fixed costs for each employee. But on the other hand, when I see this excess amount of money they have at the end of the fiscal year, I think about how they should give low-level employees a bonus for working overtime (or better yet, keep them at non-exempt!) rather than buying miscellaneous crap because they "need to spend the money".

I am in the IT department at the company, so I am fortunate to not be exempt yet. This is nice because there are times where I have to work until midnight, or come in for 6 hours on the weekend to do planned or (eek) unplanned maintenance. To work all this time knowing I am not making overtime will anger me. So it all comes down to this: The day they make me exempt - which I know is coming soon - what are they going to give ME at the expense of me sacrificing my extra time to help the company? Probably nothing more than what I make now. I just have this crazy and unrealistic idea that if you are exempt then you deserve more money, perks, etc. compared to someone who performs the same job functions in a non-exempt role.

Maybe someone else can chime in on their experiences of transferring from a non-exempt to exempt position in their workplace?

Re:One solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579353)

Gawd, this reminds me of a place I used to work. 90% of the people there had "manager" in their job title. Except me, and I was the only person directly in charge of more than one person (I reported to all these "managers" and then the people below me got me to liaise with the managers). Never again.

Re:One solution (5, Informative)

Baricom (763970) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579399)

Is there an actual codified definition of what constitutes a "manager"?

Yes. It'd be better if you RTFA, but since you didn't, all of the following must be true:

  1. The employee makes at least $455 per week.
  2. The employee's primary job must be managing the business or a divison of the business.
  3. The employee supervises at least two or more other full-time employees.
  4. The employee has authority to hire or fire other employees.

Re:One solution (4, Interesting)

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579505)

4. The employee has authority to hire or fire other employees.

"hire or fire" or "hire and fire" - there is a big difference.

From my observations, at most of my clients, any one "supervisor" or above can fire some one below them, but hiring requires approvals at every level up to the "vice president" level, any of which can veto the hiring decision.

Re:One solution (4, Insightful)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579493)

The solution is actually just two words.

Punitive Damages

And they have to be really punitive. They have to be high enough that Apple shareholders eyes bleed. Businesses of this size almost always act in a manner to forward their best interest without consideration of morals.

All Apple have done is what any large business will do when there is a law. If the PR implications and the impact on employee moral plus the risk of a court case times the cost of it are less than the cost of sticking to the law, they break the law. The only two variables we can change are how often they go to court and how much is extracted when they get there.

Everything else is just loopholes.

Re:One solution (5, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579033)

Gotta love people who think that what they'd like is what everyone else wants. I prefer being salaried; I hate having to deal with time-cards and I hate being told I can't do something (ie: work 80 hours this week then work 20 the next). I like not having to deal with an ever changing income flow depending on how much overtime I took that particular month.

If I thought I was being paid too little then I'd talk to my manager and/or find another job. If I thought I was working too long I'd talk to my manager and/or find another job. And before you ask I can do this because I'm not an idiot and I put saving for a rainy day above everything else.

Re:One solution (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579055)

Damn right. This guy didn't like the job, fine. He can go and work somewhere else (which he did.) When I had more than I could do at Apple, I quit and joined a start-up.

Seems to me that litigation is pretty lousy substitute for negotiating skills.

-jcr

Re:One solution (5, Insightful)

Urkki (668283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579187)

Seems to me that litigation is pretty lousy substitute for negotiating skills.

But isn't it so that the "negotiations" have already been done, and the result was made into laws and indsutry-wide agreements. Now Apple is breaking the agreements (or at least somebody believes they are, if they are going to court over it), and therefore litigation is the way to go.

If one side wants to change the laws and wants the old agreements discarded, then it's their responsibility to initiate the negotiation/lobbying/bribing process to make it happen. Until then, stick to the law or face litigation.

Re:One solution (5, Insightful)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579375)

Seems to me that litigation is pretty lousy substitute for negotiating skills.

So you're saying that Apple should be allowed to break the law? These laws are supposed to apply to everyone, and if you're claiming that it should be ethically okay for Apple to break the law as long as it doesn't get caught, you're giving Apple an unfair advantage over its competitors who go to greater lengths to pay their employees properly because they know they're legally required to.

If Apple doesn't like the law they should convince people and lawmakers that it should be changed. Until then they should follow it as far as I'm concerned. I'm often skeptical about the excessive use of litigation to solve problems, but in this case I think it makes sense, particularly if Apple is clearly and intentionally breaking the law at the expense of people who aren't.

Re:One solution (2, Insightful)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579583)

Let's play Devil's Advocate, not for the intent of trolling nor for flaming...

How about if this was a law in China but not here?

Re:One solution (0, Troll)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579645)

So you're saying that Apple should be allowed to break the law?

I said nothing of the kind. BTW, when did you stop beating your wife?

-jcr

Re:One solution (5, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579333)

I wish I didn't have to deal with time sheets. Even when we were exempt, we had to fill them out for billing purposes (large contractor at a local government). I often long for the days when I don't have to fill one out, not so much because of the tracking but because our time sheet application works about as well as one would expect from Microsoft web application development principles of 1998.

In retrospect, our reaction when HR notified us that we were (mostly) being changed from exempt to hourly was not what one might expect. There was much indignation because for many, reaching exempt status in IT is a sort of badge of honor, a sign that one has made it out of the trenches. We felt like we were being downgraded.

Up until that point, we'd worked whatever was required to get the job done, and if that meant an hour or two (or sometimes three or more) over, then we usually did it. It generally wasn't from any pressure from management. It was just easier for us to get it done that night than to have to pick up again in the morning, when it would compete with whatever else was going on.

When we were changed to hourly, though, we got ominous warnings about overtime and how it was going to be strictly limited and subject to pre-approval and unauthorized overtime was grounds for disciplinary measures up to and including termination. Suddenly, the ability to go home with a clean checklist was in serious danger. However, reality hit management soon after, OT was regularly approved (and almost never actually required pre-approval), and our paychecks...

Well, let's just say that no matter how disappointed we were, the difference between a 60-hour paycheck and a 40-hour paycheck, especially under California overtime laws, was more than enough to chase away our depression. :)

Re:One solution (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579401)

I hate having to deal with time-cards and I hate being told I can't do something

Speaking as somebody who has never been in a job that offered overtime - I agree. Seems a major PITA to claim for extra hours worked, then try to work out how much your salary is lower because of it (I assume employers factor in overtime claims when calculating the base salary). Also seems to make it pretty hard to compare jobs at different employers.

Re:One solution (1)

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579559)

I hate being told I can't do something (ie: work 80 hours this week then work 20 the next).

Lucky you. Even though they are salaried, no one I know is allowed to work less than 40 hours per week with out it being charged against their vacation balance (or deducted from their paycheck) - no matter how many hours they worked the week before.

Re:One solution (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579703)

Great, so 'I'm all-right Jack' then. Love the solidarity and understanding you have with your fellow workers. Unfortunately not everyone is so good at being able to raise issues with their employer, not everyone is in a work place that encourages such issues as yours obviously does.

Surely legislation that protects workers from the worst excesses of the corporate world is good. If you're able to negotiate better conditions for yourself then brilliant, but ultimately companies need to realise they have a obligation to treat their workers fairly. Large swathes workers are unable to stand up for themselves, in this situation knowing that you have the law on your side is a good thing.

Working unpaid hours is not on, the company profits from this unpaid labour, they physically make more money because people end up working for nothing because they feel obliged to. I fail to see the different in a workplace that forces you to work unpaid hours and indentured labour.

Yes, I understand there is a need for flexibility in the workplace BUT not when that extra time becomes a de-facto standard. If it's expected you work extra hours then the company MUST pay for this or renegotiate your terms, if they are unwilling to or make your working situation that much more difficult because you wish to renegotiate then this is surely where the law must support you.

Otherwise everyone is simply left to fend for themselves which in modern western society is anathema.

Re:One solution (2, Insightful)

supertjx (910400) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579039)

The whole point of the law is to protect peons from being exploited by their bosses. Peons are usually lowly paid. So the criteria to be classified as exempt should be based on their salary. I.e. those paid below a certain amount go by the clock. You could be designated a "manager", but be doing lowly paid peon work, in which case you should be protected by the law.

Re:One solution (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579075)

The whole point of the law is to protect peons from being exploited by their bosses.

The job this guy was doing at Apple was probably paying him between 70 and 80 grand. IT at Apple isn't a coal mine or a garment factory.

-jcr

Re:One solution (1)

supertjx (910400) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579093)

My point exactly. You are getting paid 70 to 80 grand. If you don't like the unofficial OT, then look for better offers, no need to whine to everyone on how unfair the world is.

Re:One solution (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579125)

It's worse than him just whining about his own situation, his lawsuit is trying to force everyone else to an arrangement that his colleagues didn't ask for.

-jcr

Re:One solution (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579545)

actually coal miners are better paid than the people at apple.

Re:One solution (2, Interesting)

loraksus (171574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579387)

Problem is... shit like [thechronicleherald.ca]
11 layers of management happens

I've heard the statistic that for every 2 employees that actually worked, 3 managers oversaw them.
Bell (Canada) is a great example of a company that embodies fail in basically everything that they do.

not getting caught (2, Interesting)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578937)

OH! I get it! like the horrible economic reality that its in my best interests to steal cars as long as I don't get caught

Re:not getting caught (5, Insightful)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579185)

OH! I get it! like the horrible economic reality that its in my best interests to steal cars as long as I don't get caught

It would only be like that, if the punishment for stealing a car was less than the purchase price of that car.

Re:not getting caught (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579631)

It would only be like that, if the punishment for stealing a car was less than the purchase price of that car.

If you don't get caught, there's no punishment.

Re:not getting caught (2, Insightful)

novakyu (636495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579879)

If you don't get caught, there's no punishment.

You should factor that into your calculation:

(Value of car) - (Probability of getting caught) * (penalty converted to monetary value) = Expected net profit (or loss).

It probably won't work for cars, as probability is probably greater than 1/2, and if you count lost wages while being incarcerated (not to mention the cost of being an ex-felon for life), expected net loss would be too great---you might as well buy lottery tickets or go to a casino, at that point.

But, for things as small as parking tickets, this could work as what some people call "reverse lottery". i.e. if you pay less in fines than you would have if you paid parking fees every time, then it's more economically viable to park without permits. Just make sure your probability estimates and other values are reasonable.

Re:not getting caught (3, Insightful)

Urkki (668283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579217)

Well, depending on your local laws and criminal penalties, your connections to the people already working in the car-stealing industry, and your current wealth and income, it may actually be in your best financial interests to start stealing cars until you get caught...

I hear fuel-efficient cars are in pretty high demand (compared to the supply) in some parts of the USA right now, so I think stealing those is a growing "business". Get in now, while it's a new trend!

Or not, if you don't like the idea of being a crook.

Re:not getting caught (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579445)

Actually, no. There is probably something you could do that would net you more. I.e., there is a better use for your time.

Not paying overtime doesn't cost you time, but saves you money. There is no more efficient way to spend your time, even if there are things that will net you more money.

Wow.. (1, Interesting)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578949)

Big surprise.. workers getting screwed by their employers. /sarcasm
When I was salaried, if I worked overtime, I took time off in lieu.
I also documented my time and funny enough, at the end of the year I was within a couple hours.

I hate day jobs.. much more fun being self-employed.

Re:Wow.. (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579001)

One could take the libertarian view that says, "if you don't like the work conditions, go elsewhere". Of course, during recessions that's often not a viable choice.

But libertarians tend to be social darwinists in that regard: "let the harsh markets weed out the weak". However, it may lead to the "ugly capitalism" found in 1800's Britain that inspired tons of novels and discourses bashing capitalism.

These issues are still not settled in the US: the progressives and conservatives (semi-libertarians[1]) fight over these views endlessly.

(It's ironic how conservatives tend to reject darwinism in biology, but embrace it in economics and distribution.)

[1] Conservatives tend to be economic libertarians but regulation-oriented when it comes to sex. This is the main thing that distinguishes them from libertarians in my opinion.
         

Re:Wow.. (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579113)

the "ugly capitalism" found in 1800's

First of all, what we had in the 1800s was mercantilism, more than capitalism. There was an awful lot of trading in government favors, tariffs, interference with competitors, etc. Secondly, even with those distortions in the market, the industrial revolution is what made our current standard of living possible. There weren't any gangs rounding people up off the farms and forcing them to go work in factories in England or the United States (it was Lenin who came up with that particular crime, and Stalin and Mao scaled it up tremendously.)

-jcr

Re:Wow.. (2, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579349)

I've always thought that Communism was actually a trick. It was described as socialism, i.e. moving power from bosses to workers, but actually it was about rolling back progress in workers rights.

E.g. in the Soviet Union it essentially ended up essentially reinstating Serfdom

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serfdom#The_Alleged_Return_of_Serfdom [wikipedia.org]

Some economic and political thinkers have argued that centrally-planned economies, especially the Soviet collective farm system and other systems based on Soviet-style Communist economics, amount to a return to government-owned serfdom. This view was put most powerfully by Friedrich Hayek in The Road to Serfdom as early as 1944 and has since been adopted by others including Mikhael Gorbachev. In certain Communist countries, farmers were tied to their farms, either kolkhoz which were theoretically collectives, or sovkhoz which were state-owned, through a system of internal passports and household registration. They had to plant crops according to instructions from the central authorities, especially if they were on state-run farms. These authorities would then "buy" their agricultural produce at vastly reduced prices and use the surplus to invest in heavy industry.

This de facto serfdom persisted in Russia till as late as 1974 (with a brief break during the Civil War), when the Soviet Government Decree #667 was put in effect. This decree granted peasants identification documents, with an unrestricted right to move within the country â" thus detaching them from the piece of land where they had worked for generations, for the first time in Russian history.

Re:Wow.. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579419)

I've always thought that Communism was actually a trick. It was described as socialism, i.e. moving power from bosses to workers, but actually it was about rolling back progress in workers rights.

"Communism" became a euphemism for totalitarianism. True communism has yet to be made to work in practice for any long period of time.

Re:Wow.. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579507)

That was true communism. All the stuff about violent revolutions and dictatorships of the proletariat came directly from Marx.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictatorship_of_the_proletariat#Lenin [wikipedia.org]

Marx: "...When the workers replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie by their revolutionary dictatorship ... to break down the resistance of the bourgeoisie ... the workers invest the state with a revolutionary and transitional form ...
Engels: "...And the victorious party" (in a revolution) "must maintain its rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries. Would the Paris Commune have lasted more than a day if it had not used the authority of the armed people against the bourgeoisie? Cannot we, on the contrary, blame it for having made too little use of that authority?...
Engels: "As, therefore, the state is only a transitional institution which is used in the struggle, in the revolution, to hold down one's adversaries by force, it is sheer nonsense to talk of a 'free people's state'; so long as the proletariat still needs the state, it does not need it in the interests of freedom but in order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom the state as such ceases to exist ....

Re:Wow.. (1)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579797)

> That was true communism.

No. It was not. It was Leninism, later either Stalinism or Maoism. A certain "interpretation" of communism. Note, how your quotes comes directly from the section, which shows Lenins position.

> All the stuff about violent revolutions and dictatorships of the proletariat came directly from Marx.

Yes. That is true. You have, however, read it more carefully. It is a text from almost a hundred years ago, and even in that time, they used a peculiar vocabulary. That is why there is a special page in Wikipedia for the term "Dictatorship of the proletariat" (from which you quoted).

First, note how Marx calls the current government as "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie". Germany was at that time a parliamentary democracy. Similar to Anarchists (which at that time were a bit more common than they are today), they argue, that since a state has a military and a police to enforce its rules on the people, is repressive, a "dictatorship",("maintain its rule by means of the terror").

They simply argue, that for a translational phase, communists are in need of such a state, which can defend itself, the same way the current one can.

To quote Karl Kautsky (also from the very same page):

The term, `dictatorship of the proletariat', hence not the dictatorship of a single individual, but of a class, ipso facto precludes the possibility that Marx in this connection had in mind a dictatorship in the literal sense of the term

Re:Wow.. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579837)

E.g. in the Soviet Union it essentially ended up essentially reinstating Serfdom

The soviet model was very close to feudalism in several other ways as well. Under feudalism, all property belonged to the king, who let his vassals hold subdivisions of it. Under Soviet communism, all property nominally belonged to the state, and in practice it was a hierarchy from the top thugs in moscow to the local zampolit who decided who got to use what property, regardless of who'd produced it.

-jcr

Re:Wow.. (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579743)

When I was salaried, if I worked overtime, I took time off in lieu.

You can't just "take time off." You have to get manager approval. And sometimes they say "no."

didnt the workers read before they were hired... (2, Funny)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24578957)

according to the end-employee license agreement (eela) they signed, they only get paid for apple-labeled work hours. any other work hours aren't apple work hours, so they shouldn't expect any support from accounting when it comes to overtime.

(yeah i know - horrible mac clone reference; its a little after 1 am here, i'll have my geek humor rested and ready tomorrow ;) )

Overtime (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24578999)

I accepted my first IT Management position about 1.5 years ago. When I took the position I was familiar with the regulations as I had developed payroll software for a big U.S. payroll company for five years. The classification was the first question I brought up to HR. Fortunately, they had classified the employees correctly. However, when I started asking for timesheets, several of them complained.

I'm not a big punch-the-clock guy and have pretty much left it to my employees' discretion as to how they fill out their timesheets. However, I ALWAYS insist that they put in all overtime and account for the not-too-infrequent off-the-clock weekend support calls. It's money they're due, period!

Even if a company "gets away" with not paying overtime they are subject for stiff fines for violating labor law, often greater than the cost of paying the back overtime. It would also be a PR field day for their competitors. I know I would not buy from a company that didn't pay their employees due overtime.

It's simply not worth it...pay your employees!

All they need to know: "india" (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579007)

This is your friendly corporate PR guy come to tell you a heavily softened version of "If you push us we'll pay you your overtime, then have you train your indian replcement while we hold your severance pay hostage"

have a nice day : ).

Seriously. If I had a job in this crappy market, i'd be kissing some serious feet right now.

Re:All they need to know: "india" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579047)

"Seriously. If I had a job in this crappy market, i'd be kissing some serious feet right now."

You are in hell. I don't know if you realize it or not, but you are a slave with that mentality. You've sold your soul for a little piece of bread.

Re:All they need to know: "india" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579251)

oh, i realize it. living your own version of allentown really sucks.

Re:All they need to know: "india" (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579049)

I once saw a cartoon where the boss simply put up a big India national flag behind his desk. Nobody bothered to ask for raises.
     

Re:All they need to know: "india" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579591)

I once saw a cartoon where the boss simply put up a big India national flag behind his desk. Nobody bothered to ask for raises.

I've use a variation of this trick: I keep a copy of "Trends in Canada, India, Mexico and the Philippines" behind my desk during salary negotiations, next to the one minute manager and such. I love the name.

These are IT people (1)

ragnarok (6947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579083)

The suit is being filed by a Network Engineer. These are the guys who keep the local infrastructure running - its tough to outsource that kind of thing to India.

Re:These are IT people (5, Funny)

Urkki (668283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579613)

The suit is being filed by a Network Engineer. These are the guys who keep the local infrastructure running - its tough to outsource that kind of thing to India.

Just have an Indian support professional walk any secretary though any network maintenance procedures over IP phone. Easy! Efficient! Almost free! Then you can "let go" a few better paid network professionals, and hire an extra secretary or two (at minimun pay of course) to be the hands and eyes of the Indian network professionals. Guaranteed to save you big bucks on the long run!

And remember, young female secretaries in skirts reaching up to change some cable is a much more aesthetic view, than a slightly overweight, bearded male engineer doing the same, Even assuming he doesn't wear a skirt... (Just try not get a mental image of him doing it in a skir...AAaaieee

Google mind readers (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579027)

Wow, slashdot's Google Ads matched the topic spot-on. This is the ad I found at the top:

    Are you Owed Overtime?
    Call our Law Firm 24/7 Nationwide Litigation
    [link]

(Of course, sometimes they get it wrong, like the "View Viking Landers on Ebay" ad I saw once on a Mars topic.)
   

FLSA or not, you get paid what you're worth (4, Insightful)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579029)

FLSA or not, you get paid what you're worth. If not, then you move on. A strongly competitive market ensures that people will be able to find a new job. As long as they can do that, employers will have to pay an employee what they're worth if they want to keep them.

Re:FLSA or not, you get paid what you're worth (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579321)

True enough. TFS points out the obvious in that if employers get away with a lawsuit settlement for less than they owed, it was a good deal. I'd extend that to suggest that if the employee following the suit was stupid enough to settle for less than s/he was owed, s/he wasn't worth the unpaid overtime money that was owed.

Re:FLSA or not, you get paid what you're worth (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579381)

Of course, if you don't want to move on because you actually like where you work then the only thing you should be thankful for is that they don't reduce your pay. And the only reason why that is the case is because of convention.

Re:FLSA or not, you get paid what you're worth (1, Insightful)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579867)

You are horribly naive. You get paid the lowest amount the company can get away with. The corollary is that you get paid the highest amount you are able to bargain for. Problem is, as an individual up against a whole company, bargaining is hard. But that's your own fault for hating on the unions.

Caveat Employee (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579035)

Usually one of the first questions I bring up upon being accepted for a position involves comp-time/overtime. Then I get it in writing.

They can (and often do) quote policy at length, but you can (and should) negotiate changes more to your liking. But unless the job is an entry-level/helpdesk position, or the market really, really sucks? Never trust an employer to look out for your best interests... that's supposed to be your job, eh?

/P

FPMITA Is the solution (4, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579073)

""If they can settle [a complaint] for less than 100 percent of what they owe people [for overtime], they've gotten away with a good deal."'"

This is why when the DA can prove that there was a conspiracy to carry out just such a policy, then they should be sent to a Federal Pound Me In The Ass Prison. I realize that there may not be any laws yet to cover this, but there should be.

This reminds me of the Fight Club when Ed Norton's character is explaining to the woman on the plane that if the total legal liability is less than the cost of recalling all the defective cars, a recall is not issued. There is just no other way to say it... that is some nefarious heinous shit. If laws are really meant to protect and nurture society then this is EXACTLY the kind of crap that needs to be stopped.

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579171)

Reminds me of a guy that I used to work with.

We worked in downtown Tokyo, he insisted on driving. (We all used public transport.) Except he didn't have a parking space, so he parked right in front of the building, on the street, illegally, every day. I asked him once how he avoids parking tickets. He said he didn't bother too much.

"Parking space costs about US$500 a month here. A parking ticket costs about US$100. They come around on the average three times a month to issue tickets. I actually only get about 1 per month, because I know they come between 11:00AM to 1:00PM on Tuesdays only. It's both convenient and economically viable to do things that way!"

He had a point...

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579421)

That only works because most Japanese people won't break the law even if the fines are rather low, because they have principles. If there were more people like your friend parking fines would have to increase.

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (2, Insightful)

EightBits (61345) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579293)

Bullshit. We have too damn many hippies trying to pass laws to protect the weak and lazy from themselves. All those laws do is remove Darwinian survival of the fittest from our society which only serves to make all of us weak. If we are to progress as a species and/or civilization, we need fewer laws to protect those who can't be bothered to protect themselves.

In the end, this comes down to responsibility and we need to stop trying to pass the buck to everyone else. The fact that there is a law about over time in situations like this is pure stupidity. I apply for a job that is listed as a salaried position exempt from overtime, guess what? It's a salaried position exempt from over time. There is no reason what-so-ever that any laws should be allowed to override this contract between me and my employer.

Don't like it? Then become your own damned employer.

The kind of shit that needs to be stopped is whiny, bitching, lazy bastards complaining about every little thing they don't like. This is why god (aka, man) invented the firing squad. To rid ourselves of people who think that companies not wanting to pay over time is "EXACTLY the kind of crap that needs to be stopped."

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (3, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579451)

See, many people consider the idea of a Darwinist survival of the fittest and civilized society as oxymorons. You should not have to resort to Darwinist solutions to receive the pay agreed upon. Your compensation should not be a competition to see who can screw over who the most.

The idea that laws and contracts should be followed not because you will be penalized for being caught but because they are laws and contracts is significant. I would go so far as to say it defines much of our western society, or at least the ideals our western society strives for at its best.

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (2, Insightful)

EightBits (61345) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579819)

While I agree with you on some matters, I disagree with you on others. Darwinist solutions are time-tested and known to work quite well. But we are destroying our ability to survive by pampering those that lack the skills and motivation. Instead, we should be pushing them harder.

I don't believe in blindly following laws written by people that are not affected by them. I am of the belief that our laws are too complex and as such are becoming more and more meaningless and useless. I should have the right to start a corporation and offer positions with the pay that I want to offer. In an open market like we have here in the US, if the offer I make to potential employees is not satisfactory, they will shun it. I may only be left with the bottom of the barrel and my company will die because of a lack of decent employees. This is not something laws should be governing in a capitalist environment. This is something free enterprise will take care of by itself if the government will merely make sure the market stays competitive.

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (0, Troll)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579495)

So I'm responsible for someone ignoring a defect on the car I bought (or covering it up) and also for companies using their leverage to screw me out of legally guaranteed rights? You've got to be a troll.

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (1)

EightBits (61345) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579823)

You're an ass hat who has gone out of his way to miss the point for the sake of arguing. You sir, are the troll here.

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579687)

I used to find Slashdot delightful,
But my feelings of late are more spiteful;
My comments sarcastic
The iconoclastic
Keep modding to +5 (Insightful).

- Randall Munroe [xkcd.com]

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579733)

You are being ironic, aren't you?

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579441)

This reminds me of the Fight Club when Ed Norton's character is explaining to the woman on the plane that if the total legal liability is less than the cost of recalling all the defective cars, a recall is not issued. There is just no other way to say it... that is some nefarious heinous shit. If laws are really meant to protect and nurture society then this is EXACTLY the kind of crap that needs to be stopped.

No, if that were the case the solution is to make the legal liability for defective products killing someone higher. And in the US, legal liability is higher than almost anyone else. This should make US products safer.

Certainly companies go to greater lengths to avoid being sued for injuring someone in the US than elsewhere. Of course, the price for all this is eventually paid for by the consumer in terms of more expensive stuff.

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579829)

I think you missed the point. There is a difference between manufacturing a defective product and having knowledge that a product is not only defective, but dangerous.

A defective product would normally be a handled by a warranty. A defective product that through its use, and as a consequence of its defect, contributes to someones death is a cause for a civil suit between the next of kin and the manufacturer. When the manufacturer is aware that their product contains a potentially life threatening defect and actively chooses to NOT inform its customers and offer warranty repair, they meet the definition of criminal negligence.

Your proposal of raising the limits on monetary relief provided to plaintiffs in the aforementioned civil suits does not address the situation represented in the movie. The situation in the movie represents industry executives knowing that there is a high likelihood of someone dying as a result of their inaction, yet still choosing not to act as inaction better serves their financial interests. That is criminal and should not be handled with civil law and courts but rather state and federal prosecutors in criminal investigations.

Re:FPMITA Is the solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579529)

actually given society's status as a whole today it's more sensible to say that the laws are made to keep a status quo and benefit the established powers (applies to both domestic and international).

You=ant
Apple=giant
As such, the laws will allways fuck you in the ass as much as possible without you taking up arms on them.

A dig at the free market and capitalism. (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579079)

Now I'm going to use this to take a dig at the free market and capitalism. This is why pure capitalism doesn't work. Companies don't try to "compete", they will lie, cheat, steal and break the law just to make a buck. That's because people will lie, cheat and steal to make a buck. Which is of course why communism doesn't work either. Because of people. And the company will keep selling the products because this makes them cheap. And people will keep buying them because they don't care about whoever is getting cheated.

Remember, it's not the company doing this to people, it's just people doing it to people. In the end that's all it is.

Re:A dig at the free market and capitalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579127)

Your argument is flawed because it is based on the assumption that a free market would contain laws pertaining to employee pay and overtime.

Re:A dig at the free market and capitalism. (1)

headpushslap (583517) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579207)

AC, incorrect - serviscope posted re: PURE CAPITALISM, which does not include regulation or legislation, it is the unfettered market at work - so no laws would exist.

Re:A dig at the free market and capitalism. (2, Informative)

Urkki (668283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579525)

Your argument is flawed because it is based on the assumption that a free market would contain laws pertaining to employee pay and overtime.

A free market would still contain agreements, and it would out of necessity need laws for situations when somebody breaks the agreement, no? If there was no government to enforce agreements (and define what an "agreement" is), but only private "security" bought with money, then the law would simply be what ever the one with most money for the best "security" would dictate.

Re:A dig at the free market and capitalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579853)

Free market != Anarchy

That said, the issue at hand here is a governmental regulation, not a contractual agreement.

If a free market did exist there would be no issue unless Apple had a contract with these employees regarding overtime compensation.

In a free market the government's proper role is to enforce the rules (contracts), not to make them (legislation).

Re:A dig at the free market and capitalism. (3, Insightful)

Gamer_2k4 (1030634) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579267)

Which is of course why communism doesn't work either. Because of people.

But that's the same reason that capitalism is so much better than communism. With communism, the incentive is that you'll be providing for others, and they'll help you in return. However, with capitalism, you get what you put into it. Because there's personal motivation, capitalism works. Sure, with capitalism, people will do whatever it takes to get money. But the truth is, even if they're lying and cheating to make that money, they're still ultimately helping their company and society in general. And that's quite a bit better than communism, where there's little to no motivation at all. Misguided motivation that increases productivity is always better than a lack of motivation that hinders productivity. Both systems are influenced by greed and even distrust, but capitalism harnesses that greed, while communism breaks down because of it.

Re:A dig at the free market and capitalism. (3, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579453)

There was a joke in Russia

"In Capitalism, man exploits man. In Communism it is the reverse"

Re:A dig at the free market and capitalism. (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579285)

"This is why pure capitalism doesn't work."

Most big companies wouldn't exist in a free market, and most small companies can't afford to 'cheat' employees, so your point is not very convincing. While there are exceptions, big companies generally rely on big government to keep new, small competitors out of the market, funnel taxpayers' money to them and protect them from irate employees and ex-employees with RPGs, .50-caliber sniper rifles and surface-to-surface missiles.

Re:A dig at the free market and capitalism. (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579363)

Actually its the opposite, look at the late 1800s. Without the government stopping them, economies of scale and the ability to price below cost and temporarily absorb the loss causes every industry to favor monopolies. With an industrialized society you either have heavy government involvement or EVERYTHING is a few big companies. Most likely those would merge as well, to form vertical monopolies and to tie products. In the end you'd have one company for everything but the markets that are too small for it to care about.

Ok but that's a straw man argument (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579367)

Because I haven't seen anyone here propose a pure capitalism, and you'll find very few people who advocate such. You'll also notice that countries that are capitalism aren't pure capitalism. Capitalism also DOES work because it is the only system I've seen that deals with people, specifically that they are lazy and greedy. While it is not true of all people or in all cases, as a general rule people are lazy and greedy. They'd rather not work, if given the option, and would like to have more stuff. Capitalism plays one off the other, using greed to overcome laziness. Not perfect and doesn't work in a pure state, but it is certainly better than anything else tried.

Re:A dig at the free market and capitalism. (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579723)

You are right, for some value of "doesn't work". The trick is in designing the system in such a way that it causes egoistic people to do things that are beneficial to others.

A free market does that, because it provides an incentive for you to produce what others want, so you can trade it for things they have that you want. And it provides an incentive for you to charge a reasonable price for it, because, if you don't, someone else will produce the same thing and trade it for less, and you will be left with a stock of things you have produced, but none of the things you wanted. In a way, it is very beautiful, because you get all this by doing nothing; that is, not imposing any rules.

However, the system is definitely open to abuse. Instead of producing the chairs that people want and trading them for the meat you want, you can produce a wooden club and threaten to beat people to death unless they give you meat. This is probably something that should be regulated. In a sense, without regulation, the system "doesn't work".

On the other hand, regulation can also cause problems. At a minimum, regulations are useless without enforcement, and enforcement diverts resources away from production, which reduces the efficiency of the system. Regulations can also actively reduce the efficiency of the system, for example, by disallowing certain exchanges. An extreme case of this could be found in many Eastern Bloc countries, where you basically weren't allowed to decide what to produce, who to sell it to, and in exchange for what. The result was that the incentive to produce was lost, there was a mismatch between what was produced and what was needed, and a vast amount of work went into enforcing regulations, rather than production.

I think there needs to be regulation, but there is good regulation and bad regulation. On the whole, I think Western countries have done a good job of enacting good regulation. There is some bad regulation as well (I am sure we all have our favorite examples), and some countries do a better job than others, but I think, at the end of the day, there is much production and little abuse.

Crazy idea. (4, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579141)

How about an employee and an employer agree to an amount of pay, a schema for that pay be it salary or hourly, and a set of duties. Then if either side decides at a later point the agreement is no longer suitable, the relationship can be severed.

Crazy shit, I know.

Re:Crazy idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579309)

You're a madman!

Read for yourself... (3, Interesting)

MillenneumMan (932804) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579195)

The FLSA is actually pretty clear and easy to follow: http://finduslaw.com/fair_labor_standards_act_flsa_29_u_s_code_chapter_8#2 [finduslaw.com]

It is not hard to determine whether or not your own role qualifies as exempt or non-exempt. Where it gets interesting is if you have seasonal duties, such as being a software developer for part of the year (which would be exempt from overtime pay) and then providing technical support for that software during a different part of the year (which would be non-exempt, or due overtime pay). A good example might be developers at Turbo Tax that code in the fall and do tax software support during the spring (which is tax season in the United States). If more than 20% of your work during the year is non-exempt then your employer cannot classify you as exempt and you must be paid for all overtime as if you were non-exempt year round.

In honor of this article - Overtime Jokes (2, Funny)

Nomadic_Z (855528) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579233)

Top Ten Reasons To Work An Overtime Shift On The Weekend 10. Think of all the weight you'll lose from not getting to eat because of short staffing. 9. Think of the closeness you'll develop with you're co-workers after being knee-deep in Code 10's/Blues and Code "Browns". 8. Everyone is so frazzled, so next to them you look fabulous! 7. Think of what a challenge it will be to your nursing skills to run a Code without a Crash Cart because they are all down in Central being replaced. 6. The joy of having the previous shift's charge nurse tell you, " I don't understand why no one would return my calls to work today/tonight. Oh, and by the way, you are short two nurses and a CNA for this shift with a full house of patients sick as dog dirt." 5. Because you're a new grad and you want to be a "TEAM PLAYER" like your head nurse told you to be. (That and you have "sucker" stamped on your forehead!) 4. When you go home with your back aching from not having any nursing assistants who work weekends and your feet aching from running your butt off for "emergency procedures" (like the gas pain your patient has had for a week that is suddenly unbearable) you'll know that you really ARE a caregiver. 3. Think of all the computer skills you'll gain from putting in your own orders and ordering supplies from Central. (That can go on your resume' as...."Know how to operate multiple outdated computer models.") 2. You don't have time to adequately chart so you may get to learn how our judicial system works. On the bright side, your handwriting will be so bad that it can say whatever you want it to say! 1. Think of what a GREAT "Learning Experience" this will be. Translation: You just got shafted!!

Exempt has perks (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579255)

The problem is that many exempt employees don't know what their rights are.

Subject to certain exceptions set forth in the regulations, in order to be considered "salaried", employees must receive their full salary for any workweek in which they perform any work without regard to the number of days or hours worked

The exemptions are too long to quote here, but the exemptions all cover missing entire days.

Read section 541.602 [dol.gov]

This means that as long as I get my work done, I can go home at noon every day if I wanted and they can't do anything about it.

The practice is rampant (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579259)

One place I worked sent around something to sign, acknowledging being exempt employees (the meaning of which was not explained). This was despite everyone being explicitly paid by the hour.

Trust me, if you ever find yourself working at a place run by non-douchebags, hold on for dear life, because you just threaded the needle big-time.

Re:The practice is rampant (1)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579869)

Odd. I'm a salaried worker and I'm forced to claim overtime, even if I didn't actually work any. It's actually a mechanism of trying to deter our client from overloading us with development requests, but hey, I'm not complaining.

Fair enough, I'm not in the US so the whole concept of exempt/non exempt doesn't apply.

California law applies too (5, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579289)

Also bear in mind that, for the IT field, California has additional laws about who's overtime-exempt and who's not based on, among other things, salary and effective hourly rate. Relevant law is California Labor Code section 515.5 [ca.gov] . As of 2007 the effective hourly rate needed to qualify as overtime-exempt was $49.77/hour. SB 929 [ca.gov] changed that effective 1/1/2008 to $36/hour, or not quite $75K/year in salary. Anyone in the IT field not being paid at least that amount is not exempt from overtime in California regardless of other qualifications (the exemption requires that all conditions hold).

Re:California law applies too (2, Insightful)

ishobo (160209) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579649)

The $74,880 salary is for 40 hours per week only. If you routinely work more than 40 hours, say 50 hours, then your employer would need to pay you a salary of $93,600 to be safe.

  • 60 hours = $112,320
  • 70 hours = $131,040
  • 80 hours = $149,760

Once your employer fails to pay the correct salary for the calendar year, your classification switches to non-exempt for that entire year.

News: Network Engineers Admit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579301)

News: Network Engineers admit they can be replaced by trained monkeys with procedure lists. According to the argument there's no real discretion in resolving network problems. Guess that CCNA doesn't mean much. Is this really what they want to say?

Re:News: Network Engineers Admit... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579429)

News: Network Engineers admit they can be replaced by trained monkeys with procedure lists. According to the argument there's no real discretion in resolving network problems. Guess that CCNA doesn't mean much. Is this really what they want to say?

In reality its probably a mix such that say 70% of it is routine but 30% is not. Most jobs are like that to various degrees.
       

Any German readers here? (1)

schoschie (1006039) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579355)

It'd be very interesting to learn about the overpay situation in Germany (or other parts of Europe) for those that are not in a trade union (Gewerkschaft) or have pay scale laws in place (Tarifvertrag). I'm talking not only about tech workers, but the majority of people working in media, design and architecture. In these professions, most people I know won't even bother to mention overtime to their bosses because paid overtime in these fields (especially in the latter three) is practically unheard of.

Re:Any German readers here? (1)

colinRTM (1333069) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579431)


I just spent several years working for a large shipping firm in Holland, not in the IT department.

Our staff were (I just left) all salaried. On top of their basic salary was an extra 23% which was to cover 1.5hrs overtime per day. Any overtime they did in addition to that was paid at double whatever their hourly rate was calculated to be. Not to mention the extra holidays mandated by law for working over 35hrs/week.

Nobody in that division was in a union.

Re:Any German readers here? (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579763)

I moved from holland to germany, and you can't really compare. Germany is a bit too easy on employers, with the idea that "the more jobs stay in germany the better" . This does not consider that these jobs should also pay enough to live from, and is easily misused by employers. Germany has no minimum-wage, and plans to change that are only progressing very slowly. At the higher end of the scale, consultants often get no-overtime contracts. Instead you get other benefits, a relatively high starting salary + fancy company car, and it's up to you to decide if it's worth it.

Re:Any German readers here? (1)

Carthag (643047) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579483)

I'm on flex time (in Denmark), which means that as long as my hours average out to 7:24 per day (one fifth of a standard 37 hour work week), I can distribute my time as I please. I work in government though.

In fact most jobs I've had, whether computer-related or not, have had some sort of system in place to cope with overtime, etc.

I think the important question to ask is... (2, Interesting)

loraksus (171574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579469)

Why is it that "tech workers" are virtually the only group singled out for getting the shaft on overtime pay.
Sure, other groups have exceptions in state and federal law (truck drivers, fruit pickers, etc), but if you look across the board - virtually all states have sections just for us in the overtime part of the law and no other group gets screwed in such a wide swath of area.
This even extends to Canada.

I left an employer who stiffed me on overtime pay "accidentally" and when I talk to other people in town, the general consensus is their employers "don't pay overtime... and they have lawyers on hand to ensure they don't start paying."

Interesting, no?

Bad way to look at it (1)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579535)

"If they can settle [a complaint] for less than 100 percent of what they owe people [for overtime], they've gotten away with a good deal."

It always amazes me the number of companies that do things like that, especially in highly skilled professions. They never take into account things like how worker happiness works on the over all output picture

Say, for instance that they "save" 200k at a cost of 100k - sounds good right? Well by doing that they normally "loose" WAY more than that 100k (I use quotes for "save" and "loose" because in both cases you aren't really saving or loosing, it is greater than or less than what you might other wise make).

I suspect there is signifigantly more money "lost" (in the sense of not making as much as one could) due to loos in productivity for being a crappy workplace. A workplace doesn't have to be really happy (that can also have a certain amount of drawbacks and employees tend to take advantage of that as much as employers take advantage of this), but unhappy is generally bad.

I've worked places that do not pay overtime that I work many hours over 40 a week and never really thought about it. In return I had reasonable deadlines, could work *any* hours I chose (include randomly take a week off if I felt like it, go fishing every Wednesday morning, or whatever), and I took home lots of high dollar equipment to play with.

Since, being a geek, I like playing with high dollar equipment so much of it was activities I would be happy to do otherwise. Reasonable deadlines was also a big one - I knew that if strongly asked to work over time (I don't recall it ever being demanded, though had I refused I suppose it would have been) that it was really a need. It also helped that the bosses worked in the same way.

I spent many many extra hours making them money. I never once felt gipped all the time I was employed there. I knew that they cared about me and, as such, I cared about the organization. Unfortunately that only went so far up the chain, but that is another story.

*shrug* It seems to me that the more removed an individual becomes from the people they manage they more they do this. IMO it is because they become numbers, not people. It also seems to happen to those that think it never will, it is a VERY rare person that makes it high and still keeps those ideas. And no, I don't think that the upper management only promotes those that think of people as "human resources" (one of the worst ideas of our time, though there are a few good HR people out there the rest are drones). I think it is no more complex that as faces become numbers that the idea expressed in the original quote become "common sense" - in my experience if you know many upper management people you will find someone who got there through managing a group of people as people, not numbers. It is just once they get to the number stage they forget there are people there.

CSC got busted. (2, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579623)

My check was about 1/10th [lieffcabraser.com] of what they legitimately owed me.

Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579699)

In Canada, there's one company famous for that. You may have heard of it. It's called AMD (formally known as ATI). I'm surprised they haven't been sued for all the bullshit they enforce. Maybe because there just aren't that many alternate companies to go to in the area. Just talk to ANY employee there that works in engineering.

I don't get overtime (5, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579717)

I really don't get overtime for programmers. Well, perhaps if you need to ship in a few days and aren't quite finished yet, so you work overtime for a few days. That could work.

But constant overtime? It just doesn't work.

If you're building a wall and putting one brick on another, you're probably going to do about twice as much work in twice the time. This does not apply to programming. I've noticed that I have about 4 to 6 hours of programming in me each day. Some days it's more; perhaps up to 10 hours. But most days, it's around 4 to 6 hours.

After I've run out of "programmming" time, I have to stop programming, because if I continue to write code, I'll have to spend time rewriting it the next day. I simply start writing crap code after about 4 to 6 hours of writing code. I can't properly concentrate on writing code anymore, I guess. Once I reach this point, I typically start doing administrativa, replying to mails, answering support calls, writing documentation and such. Or I just go home (happily, I can do that at my current work place; as long as my output is good, I don't need to put in the time).

In my experience, most programmers work the same way. Nobody codes well for 10 hours a day, each day.

This gets us to overtime. If you force people to continue writing code after their natural code writing limit is exhausted, they will write crap. And they will have to refactor that crap. So in effect, forcing programmers to work overtime will slow down your project, because they'll start spending more and more time fixing broken code instead of writing good fresh code.

Article should be titled "What *US* Tech Workers" (4, Insightful)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 6 years ago | (#24579791)

Article should be titled "What *US* Tech Workers Need to Know About Overtime".

Very few stories on here are US-specific, and they should be labelled as such.

Experts getting it wrong? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24579827)

"If they can settle [a complaint] for less than 100 percent of what they owe people [for overtime], they've gotten away with a good deal." - Sagafi

Even if they settle for 100% of what they owe, they haven't lost.

I'd love a gamble where there's little chance of losing, but even if I did, it'd only mean not gaining or losing anything...

There's only risk if the judgement could be 101% or more. Even then, with minimal risk, it'd have to be pretty high in punative damages to actually stop companies doing it.

Case in point:

There's a brand new PS3, boxed up in an empty shop. If you take it and get caught, they'll take the box off of you and tell you off.

Would you try?

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