On February 3, 2014, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a summary judgment and damages award obtained by Warren & Siurek, L.L.P. As a result, an employer must now pay $155,123.13 in back wages and attorneys fees to two (2) employees for their unpaid “sleep time” hours worked during their employment in a residential group home. See Chapman v. A.S.U.I. Healthcare of Texas, Inc., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2054, February 4, 2014.
Many employers illegally require employees to work overnight in a group home without pay. When an employee’s scheduled shift is less than twenty-four (24) hours long, Department of Labor regulations consider all hours, including overnight or “sleep time” hours, as hours worked which must be compensated. Failure to pay employees for all hours worked is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and may expose employers to significant damages awards.