Preventing a multi-million-dollar wage and hour lawsuit
JDXpert Content Library
When Jennifer Peacock and her team chose JDXpert to help them manage and store job descriptions, little did she know that it would actually save them from a multi-million-dollar wage and hour lawsuit.
Prior to starting her own HR consulting firm, Innovative Consulting Services, Ms. Peacock was employed as a consultant for a large government contractor. She was tasked with creating and implementing a new compensation program that would enable her client to better-manage the compensation of its more than 6,300 employees.
Preventing a major lawsuit
Job families, job tracks, and career ladders were created with information from the now fully-developed job descriptions
Created an ongoing review/approval process so that job descriptions could remain up-to-date and accurate
Utilized JDXpert’s FLSA Questionnaire feature to verify the classification of each job
To redesign its current plan, she needed to examine the company’s job descriptions so that a consistent compensation plan could be developed. Unfortunately, she discovered that the company did not have job descriptions. Instead, they captured their job description data by logging the education, experience, and a rudimentary summary of duties for each job in a single spreadsheet.
Ms. Peacock and her team, made up of two interns with no HR experience, completed 754 compliant job descriptions in 8 weeks. For content, they leveraged their internal spreadsheet and other sources like the JDXpert content library, job descriptions from other companies, SHRM and recruitment sites. They then used this content and JDXpert to draft job descriptions that could be sent to managers and designated employees for feedback. With the help of JDXpert’s collaborative workflow and editing tools, stakeholders were able to expeditiously review jobs and submit their edits in a track-changes format for Ms. Peacock and her team’s approval. Job families, job tracks, and career ladders were created with information from the now fully-developed job descriptions. In addition, they created an ongoing review/approval process so that job descriptions could remain up-to-date and accurate. She also utilized JDXpert’s FLSA Questionnaire feature to verify the classification of each job using the exact questions asked by the Department of Labor. Ms. Peacock was criticized for this decision, as management “knew” the exemption status of each job, but her choice turned out to be crucial in preventing her client from paying millions in an FLSA settlement.
The implementation of the new program went almost without incident, and stakeholders were embracing the process. Job descriptions were being updated, and employees were viewing their job description in JDXpert, feeling more empowered and knowledgeable about their responsibilities. Having accurate, updated job descriptions also helped the company as it went through its next performance review cycle and merit process. And even during an audit by the DCAA, auditors went as far as to rave about the process and JDXpert.
But the honeymoon phase ended abruptly when a class action lawsuit was filed. To everyone’s surprise, the FLSA classification of a job was being questioned. An employee from one of the company’s smaller outlets claimed that his job, and that of his co-workers in similar jobs, had been inaccurately classified. He alleged that these jobs, classified as exempt, were actually non-exempt positions, qualifying them for overtime pay. He and a number of his co-workers asserted that this was not an isolated occurrence, but something that was affecting similar jobs throughout the company. These employees went on extended business trips and would sometimes go on trips that would result in longer hours. They believed their jobs to be non-exempt positions because they routinely performed low-level tasks like pulling network cables. As a result, they felt that they were owed compensation for additional time worked. However, these employees were highly-skilled engineers who were paid market-based wages. It was now up to the company and their legal team to argue the legitimacy of their claim.
Meeting after meeting, Ms. Peacock and her client worked with legal counsel to build a strong defense. A major component of their case relied on the work she and her team did just months earlier. By using JDXpert, Ms. Peacock was not only able to provide attorneys with the finalized job description, but was also able to report on the history of the job description in question—namely, who wrote it, who edited it, who approved it and when, and was even able to pull up the completed FLSA Questionnaire that helped determine the job’s exempt status. Armed with this information, the company’s legal team proceeded confidence.
During legal proceedings, every aspect and participant was scrutinized. Ms. Peacock’s expertise, the validity of JDXpert, and even the company itself was questioned. In the end, all of the rigor taken during the job description evaluation and review process paid off; the class action lawsuit was dropped!
JDXpert provided this organization with a job description management process that was easy to maintain. Ms. Peacock and her team decided to use JDXpert to its fullest extent, giving them a built-in process for creating, reviewing, editing, and evaluating job descriptions which is critical in determining how jobs are classified and people are paid. Without the help of JDXpert, the results of this case may have taken a different turn.
From the Client
“JDXpert saved a former client of mine from a major lawsuit because we were able to show the rigor around the job description review and approvals. To know that a relatively inexpensive tool helped save them from a very costly wage and hour lawsuit is absolutely astounding!”
Jennifer Peacock, President/HR Consultant, Innovative Consulting Services
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