Robert Dobkin worked at U.S. Seal Manufacturers starting in 1962. According to Mr. Dobkin, he often worked 12 hour days with no overtime pay. One day in October 2013, he was allegedly summoned to a meeting where he was terminated as part of a “workforce reduction.” However, the reduction consisted of one employee, Mr. Dobkin. In the lawsuit he (not surprisingly) recently filed in federal court, Mr. Dobkin claims age discrimination . He is also seeking unpaid overtime to which he claims he is entitled.
This case, though in its infancy, is instructive for employers on a couple of fronts. First, be careful with the language you use in separating employees. For example, don’t term a separation a “workforce reduction” if only one employee is being let go. Second, take extra care with long-term employees. Just because someone has been with you for a long time does not mean he or she is entitled to remain, but neither should you casually kick them to the curb. And finally, check, double check, and triple check your pay practices. If you’ve got non-exempt employees being treated as exempt (e.g., working 12 hour days and not earning overtime), you’re looking at some major liability.