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Decision for Employer/Client Regarding Employee Claim for Wages - Labor Standards
Our client`s former employee filed a claim for unpaid wages with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Labor Standards division.  The employee had been unable to return to work due to a covered workers` compensation injury in December 2013.  He was subsequently discharged in May after he had been unable to return to work and due to changes in the business.  Despite that, he claimed he was owed over $6,000.00 consisting of $500.00 per month in medical reimbursement from January to May 2014 and ten days vacation time.  He added a claim that he was owed for forty-four hours of work during the period he was recovering from his work related injury.
 
Brian Hunter was able to show that evidence demonstrated the employee was not owed any of the claimed compensation as he had not engaged in any covered employment following his injury and was otherwise unable to perform the essential duties of his job for which he was hired.
 
On September 4, 2014, Labor Standards found that the activities that the employee claimed he was owed wages for following his injury were for pre-employment activities such as filling out applications, training and driving tests which were conditions of employment that benefitted the employee and not the employer.  Labor Standards applied the six-part test of the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) to determine if the pre-employment training was compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):  
 
            1) The training, even though it includes actual operation in the
                  employer`s facilities, is similar to training that would be given
                  in a vocational school (this means the training is "fungible,"
                  or interchangeable, and can be used by the employee in another
                  position with another employer);
            2) The training is for the benefit of the trainee;
            3) The trainees do not displace regular employees but work under
                  close observation;
            4) The employer that provides the training derives no immediate
                  advantage from the trainees` activities and at least on occasion,
                  its operation may actually be impeded;
            5) The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion
                  of the training period; and
            6) Both the employer and the trainees have an understanding that
                  the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.
 
In short, Labor Standards determined that the activities were not compensable.  
  
Furthermore, it was determined that the employee was receiving Temporary Total Disability benefits from the Wyoming Workers` Compensation Division and that payment of the requested compensation would amount to a double recovery.
 
This decision was upheld on review by the Department of Labor Standards on October  7, 2010.

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