Salvation Army Shorts Live-In HUD Housing Managers, Lawsuit Says

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By Porter Wells

The Salvation Army allegedly told a low-income housing director not to record her overtime hours and miscalculated her overtime wages by using the wrong base pay, according to a May 7 complaint.

Mary McElhanon filed her complaint in federal court as a Fair Labor Standards Act collective action and said she believes there are more than 100 potential plaintiffs.

McElhanon, who has worked for the Salvation Army in Houston since 1999, alleges that she often puts in more than 40 hours a week doing administrative tasks and taking care of tenant requests. The charity organization and the Department of Housing and Urban Development partner to provide housing for low-income seniors, veterans, and mothers across the country. But the Salvation Army has discouraged her from recording the extra hours, she alleged.

And even when she does record her extra hours, McElhanon alleged, overtime pay is undercalculated because her employer doesn’t count the value of the room and board it provides her.

The FLSA requires employers to pay nonexempt employees time-and-a-half for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Bonuses and benefits such as room and board must be counted in determining the employee’s regular rate of pay for the purpose of overtime calculation, under the law.

McElhanon is asking for monetary damages and the court’s determination on whether the nonprofit’s alleged pattern of denying overtime pay is willful.

The Salvation Army didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.

The case is McElhanon v. The Salvation Army, S.D. Tex., No. 4:18-cv-1457, complaint filed 5/7/18.

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