When the only evidence of an employer’s unlawful denial of overtime pay is the employee’s testimony, can the case still go to trial? According to a recent decision from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

In Moran v. Al Basit LLC, the plaintiff, a mechanic employed at two Detroit-area auto repair shops owned by the defendant, claimed that despite working more than 65 hours each week for nearly two years, he never received compensation for overtime. Instead, he was paid $300 each week and was occasionally given a nominal bonus. The lawsuit alleges that under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the plaintiff, a nonexempt employee, was entitled to time-and-a-half for hours in excess of 40 hours per week.

In its defense, the employer produced time sheets showing that the plaintiff regularly put in exactly 30 hours each week, with the hours recorded by one of the owners. A manager also testified that the plaintiff’s hours never exceeded 30 hours per week.

The only proof in support of the plaintiff’s allegations was his own testimony, based on his recollections and without any supporting written documentation.

Citing a lack of evidence, the defendant moved to dismiss the lawsuit, but the court ruled that the plaintiffs testimony was sufficient to create “a genuine issue of material fact” best left to a jury to decide.

State and federal laws protect hourly workers in Michigan and elsewhere from wage theft and employers’ unlawful compensation practices. If you suspect your employer has wrongfully denied you wages or overtime pay, you have only a short period of time to pursue your rights. Please contact the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’ Employment Litigation Group today to discuss your situation.