- Golden Corral has agreed to pay $3.9 million to resolve claims that its training pay structure violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- The company paid non-exempt associate managers a lump sum for training, regardless of the hours it took, the employees alleged in a collective action suit. The plaintiffs said they routinely worked more than 40 hours per week, often up to 70 hours while in training.
- The court ordered Golden Corral to review records from 2013 to 2017 and notify associate managers who worked during the relevant period of their right to recover compensation.
It's not unusual for employers to try to limit training expenses; Papa John's recently faced similar claims over its online training. But employee pay must still comply with the FLSA, meaning non-exempt employees must be paid at least minimum wage and time-and-a-half for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.
Even when applicants are interviewing for a job, employers must take care to ensure that candidates aren't performing work, potentially rendering that time compensable.
Still, there are times when employees need not be paid for time spent in training, but they are few and far between. According to a U.S. Department of Labor fact sheet, "[a]ttendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities need not be counted as working time only if four criteria are met, namely: it is outside normal hours, it is voluntary, not job related, and no other work is concurrently performed."