Holaway v. Stratasys, Inc. – “Relaxed” Evidentiary Standard

Barkan Meizlish , May 18, 2015

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employee bringing unpaid overtime claims has the burden to prove that the employee performed uncompensated work.  Employers are required to keep wage and hour records for employees subject to the FLSA’s overtime provisions.  But when employers fail to do so, however, courts generally apply a “relaxed standard of proof,” rather than requiring an employee to show the exact amount of uncompensated work, to determine an employee’s compensation.  Under this standard, an employee need only provide sufficient evidence to create a “just and reasonable inference” that the employee performed uncompensated work.

In a recent misclassification case, the court in Holaway v. Stratasys, Inc., No. 14-1146, 2014 WL 5755987 (8th Cir. Nov. 6, 2014) held that Holaway’s approximations of his hours worked failed to meet the relaxed standard of proof.  Although Holaway stated that he worked between 45 and 70 hours per week, the court nonetheless determined that these estimations, without more, were not sufficient to show that he worked over 40 hours per week.  The court noted that Holoway failed to provide evidence regarding the specific weeks he worked over 40 hours and that his testimony lacked a “meaningful explanation” of how he reached his final weekly hours worked estimate.  According to the court, such “contradictory and bare assertions” regarding an employee’s overtime hours did not meet the low burden under this relaxed evidentiary standard.

Source: Sean Pon, Employer Prevails on Misclassification Claim Where Employee Fails to Prove Hours Worked, Nov. 11, 2014 http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/employer-prevails-on-misclassification-c-09982/

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