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This is in response to Who's Breaking Wage-and-Hour Laws.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
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And employees won't report these violations because they are afraid of loosing their jobs and/or retaliation.

Who do they go to if HR doesn't listen?

Cheli Hidalgo

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The comment about Wilt Chamberlain's sex life seems like an "inside joke" not something that would be understood by most readers (I certainly had no idea what he is talking about). And, it detracts from the professionalism of the rest of the article.

Barbara Taylor

Peter reponds:

Dear Barbara,

The reference comes from Chamberlain's famous claim that he had sex with 20,000 people. Sorry if you didn't think it was appropriate. The idea of the column is to try to keep the accounts entertaining, and I understand that not everyone thinks the same things are funny.

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It is always a pleasure reading your articles and I appreciate the opportunity to do so as well as correspond with you. I won't write a long e-mail, but had to comment on your statement in this article that 11 hours of overtime per week was "tremendous."

Forget nonexempt employees and come to any white-collar job in an office across for-profit America. 51 hours of work is not anything particularly noteworthy unless perhaps you're from France.

Further, many manufacturing operations run on 1-hour shifts, which results in normal schedules of 48 hours per week. I have worked at plants where that was the preferred schedule of employees.

Given, they alternate between 36-and 48-hour weeks, thus averaging 42 hours, but still the 48- or 50-hour week is no tremendous hardship on the employee.

Currently personally working over 50 as an average and having worked in excess of 100 hours in a week during certain crunch times, the statement of 11 hours of overtime as tremendous I thought was really out of touch with the working world, whether it is exempt or nonexempt employees who are being considered.

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Additionally, as you stated, I've never worked in my HR career anywhere that painful effort wasn't put into being in compliance regardless of the refusal by DOL to update and clarify these byzantine regulations.

Steve Smrcina

Peter responds:

Thanks for the message and for the thoughts. I agree that there is a lot of overtime being worked -- average managers work around 56 hours per week, and that's a big issue in itself.

The figure of 11 hours of overtime in the article, though, refers not to the average amount of overtime worked, but to the amount of uncompensated overtime that is in violation of the law.

I think you'd agree that 11 hours of uncompensated overtime per week is a lot given that even one hour is a violation.

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