Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lawrence Humane Society to pay workers $10,000 in back pay following federal labor investigation

February 15, 2011, 3:19 p.m. Updated February 15, 2011, 6:06 p.m.

Advertisement

The Lawrence Humane Society has agreed to pay $10,000 in back wages to its employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, the society confirmed Tuesday.

Humane Society Board President Megan Hiebert said an investigation determined that employees were not correctly being paid for overtime or were being required to work after clocking out.

An employee filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor in October. An investigation by that agency found that six employees were not properly paid and were due $3,000 in wages. Hiebert said the society’s board of directors conducted its own review of other employees who were not subject to the Department of Labor investigation. That review found 14 employees who were owed $7,000 in back wages.

The payments will be made to the employees by Feb. 25, Hiebert said.

“We are committed to correcting this situation and protecting the rights of our employees,” Hiebert said in a statement. “We are deeply distressed that these violations occurred and we are implementing appropriate policies and processes to ensure it does not happen in the future. We will work diligently with our executive director to ensure our workers are properly paid in the future.”

Hiebert said the pay problems occured over a period of two years. She declined to give more details about the nature of the violations, but noted that the U.S. Department of Labor did not levy a fine against the Humane Society, other than ordering the back wages be paid.

“I just know that the staff is very dedicated to serving the animals,” Hiebert said.

Hiebert also declined to comment on whether any personnel actions would be taken regarding the issue. Hiebert did confirm that longtime Humane Society leader Midge Grinstead remains in her position as executive director.

In early November, the Humane Society’s board of directors placed Grinstead on administrative leave for unspecified personnel reasons. In late November, she was reinstated. An attempt to reach Grinstead for comment was unsuccessful.

“We regret being in this position and we are committed to making right to our employees,” Hiebert said. “We’re working with the staff on policies and procedures to ensure full compliance with labor standards as we move forward.”

Hiebert said the board also was undertaking a broader review of shelter operations to ensure that other regulations and policies are being followed.

“We’re working very diligently on that,” Hiebert said.

Comments

deec 3 years, 10 months ago

Told you so. Where's the rabid fan club now?

multiagelearner 3 years, 10 months ago

So who is the accountant that can't figure overtime? Surely the aren't going to try to pin this on Midge Grinstead too. Do they have a certified accountant? Aren't the humane society books/expenses public? Are the animals in charge of the humane society now? I find it odd that the board wants to expand but the executive director doesn't seem to agree. The board puts her on adminstrative leave---paid leave, and then solve NOTHING and then bring her back. Who is paying for all the attorneys? Are my donations going to fund the attorney fees?

Justanopinion 3 years, 10 months ago

I think the point is that they were really quiet about why there was an issue with Midge and that Midge's problems occured right after this was reported. I dont think Midge would have been reinstated if they were trying to pin it on her. You can make your own conclusions from there...

Amy Heeter 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

sr80 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

Slap some water on your faces, in most cases the lead dawg does the deed. Pardon the pun. Good grief what are you smoking multi? People know how much they work and what they get paid.

Cheating/bullying hourly workers aint cool, no matter how many fans she has.

Alceste 3 years, 10 months ago

"An employee filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor in October."

This wounded employee.....why didn't the wounded employee complain to this "Executive Director" and/or this "Board of Directors"?

If employees are frightened of either or both, what kind of an operation is that place running? On the other hand, maybe some employees are a might too big for their britches....and on the other hand this IS Kansas....a Right To Get The Shaft state. shrug

Amy Heeter 3 years, 10 months ago

If you sit on the pity pot too long you might end up with a ring around your bite.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

multi workers complained. Sure she is a fine women, but the emperor has no clothes.

Aint cool to demand work from hourly wage earners. In a way it's stealing.

Justanopinion 3 years, 10 months ago

Alceste-Maybe the "wounded employee" did report to the director, who reported to the board who had a "personnel" issue with her and put her on leave.

Oh and BTW I will continue my donations because I care about the animals and know I could not provide for them all and have not seen a better solution yet proposed.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

multiagelearner 3 years, 10 months ago

If the "lead dawg" does the deed, doesn't the board of the humane society sign off on everything? It is a public non-profit organization, I doubt Midge Grinstead is the accountant. Maybe it's time to clean house at the shelter and start from scratch, board members, president, and director.
So who's taking care of all the animals when everyone involved with the shelter is so busy throwing stones and pointing fingers?

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

If the "lead dawg" does the deed.....We are not discussing U.S. Steel, or IBM. This is a small town animal shelter. To think the paid (I bet later her real total compensation package will shock even Lawrence) on site manager doesn't realize her hourly workers hours is ridiculous.

How hard is it, to check you time card and correct it. No, mi Midge loving amigos, something is rotten in Denmark.

When is the last time the Dept. Of Labor slapped a small operation like this?

C'mon Lawrence you are better than this.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 10 months ago

500$ per employee over 2 years? That's not exactly high finance bro'.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

Importants items of note: 1. The executive director does not handle payroll. One of the board members acts as bookkeeper/accountant and handles the payroll. 2. I think the executive director haters would be very surprised at who one of the employees who was due a bulk of the money determined to be owed by the investigation. 3. Not reported in the press release....ahem....I mean article was this tidbit: Most of the money being owed was NOT from some evil scheme to not pay employees' overtime, but instead a little known classification snafu about who can be a salaried worker....a rule that took the board by surprise. 4.This quote says a lot about anyone trying to pass blame on to the executive director: "Hiebert said the pay problems occured over a period of two years." It seems highly illogical that a director that had been there double digit years would decide in the last two years that she would begin bilking her employees out of money....assuming that she does, in fact, handle the payroll...which she doesn't.

Mark Zwahl 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm not a Midge hater. But what you appear to not understand is that if 13 employees are involved over 2 years, this is a systematic "oversight" of how things are done. That's the CEO. She either implemented the policies, supported them, or knew about them and ignored them. Unfortunately, it's all the same. And that doesn't make her evil or bad - she/they made a decision that was a bad one that probably looked reasonable at some (denying reality) level of trying to get work done and live within budgets etc.

Fixed_Asset 3 years, 10 months ago

Classification snafu - really? Breaking the law is breaking the law. Took the board by surprise? Come on - you can do better than that.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

Have you ever jaywalked? If breaking the law is breaking the law than I suppose you could get a murder sentence, lol. What a ridiculous statement.

Fixed_Asset 3 years, 10 months ago

What? Oh my goodness, Yeti. Let me make it a bit simpler for you - the classification of employees is very clearly addressed in the FLSA as is overtime pay for hourly employees. Ignoring a part of the Act is not a "snafu" it is a violation of the law. Get it?

BobaFett 3 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

pace 3 years, 10 months ago

I had a boss that liked to squeeze extra 'free" work from us. We finally got Mom to stop it. Well she didn't stop but it at least was open and spoke about. We also caught her paying us less, she explained she knew we would stay. It is sometimes hard to work for someone who grew up during the great depression. It is often the least paid who work the hardest and they are often not appreciated. Good for the persons who stood up for themselves. Good for the hard work they do at the shelter. Thanks to all the workers. I know it is hard, challenging work.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

Well as the old blues song the Allman Brothers made famous goes.............somebody did somebody wrong. Sure wasn't the exec. director who's check was smaller was it? 60K federal fine aint chicken feed, sorry again for the pun.

Release the total compensation packages, total, gas, phones, car allowance, vehicles driven, housing, vacation and wink wink vacation called business leaves, leave, insurance package including deductibles, life insurance cash out, retirement and then salary on the exec.

Then compare this to the other hourly or whatever workers received.

jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

From the article - the Department of Labor did not levy a fine.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 10 months ago

"....60K federal fine..." What fine? "....the U.S. Department of Labor did not levy a fine against the Humane Society, other than ordering the back wages be paid." From the article. wissmo are you literate? Or did you just not even bother to read the article?

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

Cait, What bookkeeping entry would you call having the Dept. of Labor order you to pay 6 employees exactly 10k @ Geez Cait, it seems they were all seemrf to work the exact same hours to recieve 10K.

What a coincidence.

Now Cait. say it, so sorry I make mistaki. Good grief, the real world must be hard for you.

It's called a fine, directive, order to pay, call it what you want. Wowzer, the level of compliancy in this town amazes me. Feed dog good, no feed human worker OK cuz feed dog good.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 10 months ago

Reread the article Wissmo. It's 10k TOTAL for 20 employees. They were actually ordered by Labor to pay 3k to 6 employees. They did a self review and decided on their own to add 14 more employees to that total for a total of 7K additional dollars.

"An employee filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor in October. An investigation by that agency found that six employees were not properly paid and were due $3,000 in wages. Hiebert said the society’s board of directors conducted its own review of other employees who were not subject to the Department of Labor investigation. That review found 14 employees who were owed $7,000 in back wages."

Quote from the article above. Now, again, are you illiterate or did you just not bother to read the article? There is no "$60,000" involved nor is it a "fine". You would make a great Republican politician, though. You sound more like Sarah Palin with every post.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

No need to call names Cait. I am not sure of what amounts are owed, but it does seem rather chicken feedish.

I assumed the Feds have more to do than just a small time investigation like this. Still don't. Feds fine folks, Windex on staff dining table for a true example, $5 K stuff, not little amounts.

animalsfirst 3 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Midge didn't actually do the payroll but she knew what was going on. She told employees that if they talked to any board member about anything going on at the shelter they would be fired. Staff members never expected to be payed back pay. The only reason they worked overtime for free was for the animals. How are you expected to care for over 500 animals properly every day with a skeleton crew?

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

Okay.... I'll try again without the sarcasm (apparently poor attempts at humor are frowned upon in this establishment). If Midge doesn't do payroll and therefore cannot benefit from the alleged indiscretion, what is her motive? This doesn't jibe. It doesn't make sense (really Journal World? The sarcasm was way more entertaining). I'm willing to engage in lively debate but you have to come with an argument that makes sense and fits into the scenario. So far the only motive I can surmise from your argument is that the executive director bilked employees out of money to (guessing here) somehow keep more money for the Humane Society itself...... To what end? This isn't a first year rookie on the job. She doesn't need to impress anyone (with a healthier bottom line) to keep her job. She's been there umpteen years and has been well regarded by the city and her employees. How does your argument fit?

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Maybe funds were tight and she thought it proper to "convince" some of the employees to donate a portion of their time to protect the welfare of the animals. As a salaried but dedicated employee, I am sure Midge puts in more than 40 hours per week, for which she is not compensated. Under those circumstances, it would be easy for anyone in Midge's position to rationalize her expecting employees to do the same. Granted, Such an attitude demonstrates poor judgment, and in fact, illegal.

However, it appears the problem has been rectified, people will be justly compensated, and its time to move on.

I see no purposes in dwelling on past mistakes, especially when they have been remedied.

If my hunch is true, there were adequate grounds for terminating Midge. Nonetheless, admonishment and corrective action is also proper discipline, especially in light of her long time dedication to the shelter's mission.

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

Hey there, damage control!

"Donating time" is the biggest crock I've heard. An hourly employee is not exempt. Period. If you can't understand that, I have a hard copy of the Fair Labor Standards Act that I can share with you.

If you're up for donating your time, or think they're too short staffed, volunteer at LHS. An employee does not donate time to an employer. Ever.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

While I believe that your hunch is untrue, I appreciate that it is at least based in the realm of reality. All I can say is that hopefully the true story will come out and you will be convinced that your hunch was wrong.

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

By caring for your workers and following the FLSA?

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

Who I am? Who cares? Tolerate what? What did I say that was so wrong?

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

Lol.....I'm pretty sure I don't know you and thus have no agreement with you or anyone else. As for me going down, I am pretty sure that's a threat and don't see how that is in compliance with the LJW's code of conduct.

animalsfirst 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

multiagelearner 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

animalsfirst 3 years, 10 months ago

The employees finally did talk and will continue to do so for the welfare of the animals.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

Animal first, I believe the Federal Dept. of Labor very convincingly let the public know what a non profit organization did without much doubt.

If you think the judgment was wrong, then file a complaint. If not, do not try to convince us nothing happened, or the famous keep you nose out of our business. People in real jobs get fired for a lot less than this. Midge is good I guess, but let's not build a monument. Cheating workers out of pay is wrong.

Having a non profit organization ruling with fear and threats is wrong as well. My o My in Lawrence of all places too.

animalsfirst 3 years, 10 months ago

I am thankful some of what is truth has come to light. More will eventually be revealed.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Your statement suggests that you have inside information currently unavailable to the public. IF that is the case, why not enlighten the rest of us now rather than wait until it released through "official channels." You failure to do so transforms the credibility of your statement into rank speculation.

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

Their failure to do so allows the law to do its job, investigating without interference.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

giveitsomethought 3 years, 10 months ago

it was said some months back there would be more to come on the shelter front. It is nice to see some people still refuse to admit Grinstead could have anything to do with any of the issues. Not that any of her supporters will believe it, but issues go back much further than just 2 years.

giveitsomethought 3 years, 10 months ago

here is another question for you.....what possible reason could an animal shelter have to make employees sign a non-disclosure agreement? it isn't like they have trade secrets. It would be about control. Limiting the flow of information. It is easier to contain misrepresentations of truth if no one is allowed to speak of them. I'm ready to get bashed now. I know, where is my proof of such an allegation? People will believe what they want. Some have already shown it doesn't matter how much information they are given.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Is there any evidence to suggest employees are required to sign a non-disclosure statement?

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

Employees are required to sign. I have a hard copy of this statement.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

A very disappointing and improper policy for a non-profit public service and humanitarian organization. Shame on them.

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

Sycophant: [sik-uh-fuhnt, -fant, sahy-kuh-] –noun a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sycophant

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

I know what a sycophant is. The misspelling in my moniker is intentional. Did you notice my avatar, Ed McMahon, the proverbial butt kisser of all time. Thank you for reminding me of my feeble attempt at sarcastic self-deprecation.

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

You're doing a bang-up job on self-deprecation in your posts, so it's redundant anyway.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Why so much hostility? Do you not respect the right of eveyone to have an opinion that not comport with yours?

catdog 3 years, 10 months ago

The comment from TheYetiSpeaks shows us that this person actually did their homework before drawing a conclusion from the lack of public information that is missing from this article. Thank you. You are correct. The "Executive Director haters" would be very shocked to know who most of that money is owed to and who actually had the records from years to prove it. I just wonder if anyone ever stops to think who takes care of these animals on holidays or when the shelter is closed and there are no employees working that day or who is it during an animal rescue from cruelty/abuse that puts themselves between the abuser and the abused, and we are not just talking animals that are found in these cases. The list goes on and I encourage supporters/nonsupporters to do their homework before they draw their own conclusions and opinions. With the homework I have done and situations witnessed it is my opinion that the Board members are incompetant and underqualified to run the Lawrence Humane Society in a way that it benefits the animals and the public. My hats off to the "Executive Director" for trying hard to maintain that shelter under those conditions. Thank you also for your hard work and help with getting bills passed to make animal cruelty illegal and punishable. Thank you for taking the boxes of kittens and puppies that people drop off because they don't want to spay or neuter their pets. Thank you for taking the animals that were sick, nursed them back to health and found them great homes. Keep up the good work!

lawksismyhome 3 years, 10 months ago

Midge has dedicate the past 13+ years of her life to the Humane Society working ridiculous hours and rarely getting days off unless she actually physically left town for a vacation. It saddens me that so many people are pointing fingers and placing blame on her for the incompetence of the person performing the accounting and the staff who can't seem to keep accurate track of their time. How much easier is it for the Board of Directors to point fingers and place blame on one individual person rather than take the fall. For the people who don't know Midge she is a very nice caring person and I can assure you that she would never INTENTIONALLY or KNOWINGLY underpay the workers; she has nothing to do with the processing of their time cards. She has always cared for her staff, buying them lunch out of her pocket, giving them all christmas gifts and doing what she could to accomodate them. The person some of you describe is a selfish person but the person many of us know is a SELFLESS person. After working all of these years to make the Lawrence Humane Society one of the most respected HS in the State dedicating every free moment she has and working herself to exhaustion how could people want to tarnish her name and reputation. I just can't understand humiliating and slandering someone who is such a good person for NO REASON! Good people prevail and in the end the truth will come out the people who have and continue to slander her will see JUSTICE!!!

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

Unfortunately, our legal system lacks the defense of "no one is god."

I wonder why...?

lawksismyhome 3 years, 10 months ago

So is it Midge's fault that the employees were working after clocking out? Does she control the movement of their hands to simply clock in and out and is it really her job to babysit and say excuse me are you still clocked in? Do you really think that she had the time to stand infront of the time clock and prevent anyone from clocking in and out. I can assure you MIDGE NEVER prevented anyone from being paid. In fact, do you know how many employees would "forget to clock in" and write their time on the cards themselves reporting time they never worked and claiming to have arrived earlier than they did or leave later than they did. I can assure you that even if an error existed it wasn't to any knowledge of Midge and if the Humane Society was to be given back all of the money they have paid out for the employees lying to get more money and falsifying their time cards it would far out weight any error that may have been made by the ACCOUNTANT!!!!!

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm glad you registered just to post this comment. Look at all the LHS damage control coming here! Curious how you and catdog show up at the same time, post one comment, and write similarly. Of course, I could believe you are the real Catdog, because half of the time you're speaking out of your other end.

I don't care what kind of person Midge is. This isn't her personality we are talking about here. We are talking about labor laws, and whether LHS broke them. You can't have it both ways; Midge can't be so removed that she doesn't know about this pervasive payroll issue yet also be so deeply involved with the shelter that she practically lives there. Everyone knows that she pretty much lives there, so...

It's not "slandering" her. This investigation has come to an end. There was due process. LHS did not follow labor law. If you still don't understand, I hear Amazon has great children's books on the legal system. Lots of pictures.

I am sure that your courageous comments on an internet message board truly help the animals at LHS. I'm so glad that you spent your time here instead of doing productive things like volunteering yourself. Every dog and cat that gets the dirt nap shot today thanks you for spending your time hammering out damage control walls of text while they wait in vain for a loving home.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

I am just a cheap imposter. lawksismyhome, on the other hand, is a true sycophant, and a transparent one at that, as you aptly out.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

mbulicz says: "You can't have it both ways; Midge can't be so removed that she doesn't know about this pervasive payroll issue yet also be so deeply involved with the shelter that she practically lives there."

This is extremely faulty logic. I'll use the metaphor of a football team to help you out here. The general manager of a football team does many things during the course of his day to run his team. He often spends long hours and deeply cares about the success of his team. However, while doing his job he has no idea what the linebackers are doing. The linebackers coach handles the linebackers. He then reports to the defensive coordinator, who in turn reports to the head coach. The general manager is much too busy to make sure every aspect of his team is running smoothly on a day to day basis, which is why he leaves it the (hopefully) capable hands of others. Midge doesn't do time cards/ payroll.....Never has. Someone would like to paint the picture that she does. Why is that?

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Who else but Midge would formulate a policy that required employees to continue to work after clocking out? This is a non-profit. Her lieutenants are not evaluated nor given bonues based on productivity and bottom line numbers. .

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

There is no "policy". In a small number of cases the Labor Department determined that a few employees could not be classified as salaried. Therefore, LHS has to go back and pay them how much they would have made had they been "hourly" employees, some of which would have been overtime hours. It amounts to a clerical error by payroll. Businesses trying to get as much out of salaried workers as they can isn't exactly a bombshell. Sychophant- I appreciate that you're playing a Devil's Advocate type role here but I assure you I wouldn't be saying these things if I didn't have knowledge of the situation and feel like someone was being wronged. There was no wicked intent going on here, yet someone is trying very hard to imply that. Ask yourself, why?

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

""There is no 'policy.'"?

The journal world article reads in part "...[employees] were being required to work after clocking out."

Sounds like a policy to me.

Is the LJW reporter mistaken?

Please explain.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm sorry. Let me clarify. I'm only speaking of the investigation by the DOL. Ask yourself, why would the board run their "own" investigation finding fault where the DOL did not? The release says the latter employees were not subject to the DOL's investigation....Huh? If there was wrongdoing, why on Earth would they not be subject to DOL investigation? There is no statute of limitations. Does the Board honestly expect people to believe that employees were being forced to work "sweatshop" style and the Department of Labor decided NOT to out that? Or that the Board is somehow more adept at these type of investigations than the DOL? This would be the part where I remind people that the Board President runs the Clinton Lake Marina, not a Labor Law firm.

lawksismyhome 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

In my humble opinion, calling someone an idiot, especially when you just registered specifically to troll this issue, is not very productive nor does it contribute to a civil discussion of the issues.

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

The Humane Society isn't a multimillion dollar football team. They have a tiny staff and a tiny budget. Midge isn't a CEO in a high rise office. Her office is right at the front, where everyone can see and talk to her.

Regardless - in the eyes of the law, ignorance is no excuse. It wasn't malevolent, it was negligent.

Fixed_Asset 3 years, 10 months ago

That is exactly right, mb! As the director - it is all her responsibilty. If she didn't know her employees were working after beng clocked out (even on a volunteer basis) it is breaking the law, period and she is responsible.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

"It wasn't malevolent, it was negligent."

Right.....by whomever does payroll/bookkeeping....not the executive director. Thanks for clarifying that.

pace 3 years, 10 months ago

Yeti, you seem to have no understanding about book keeping or supervision of a work crew. Our bookkeeper would be told what hours to pay someone and would have no reasonable knowledge if the hours were incorrect.. Nor do you have any business experience supervising a work crew. It is much more likely a director or supervisors responsibility would know if people were asked or coerced to work off the book or if the work did not match the time card.

Fixed_Asset 3 years, 10 months ago

.... as the executive director she is responsible for all employee actions.

unite2revolt 3 years, 10 months ago

I'll still give to the shelter when I can. I have a friend that practices FLSA law. This kind of thing happens all the time. Under the law ignorance is not an excuse, but most employers/managers at small operations are out of touch with labor laws. Its especially common in non-profits. What happens is someone is misclassified as exempt, then works over-time they are not paid for. Because they were misclassified they are owed that money as back pay.

His website has a bunch of information about FLSA and the types of mistakes that are commonly made. http://www.thehodgsonlawfirm.com/ I am happy they kept Midge in her position, and will continue to support the shelter.

meggers 3 years, 10 months ago

I can't help but wonder if the operating budget approved by the Board was insufficient to cover the staffing needed to ensure proper care. If that was the case and it was brought to the Board's attention, they certainly share some culpability in this situation.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

How does the Board share culpability? If the amount of dollars budgeted was insufficient, which is certainly a tenable hypothesis, the proper thing to do would be to approach the board to explore solutions, not violate labor laws.

meggers 3 years, 10 months ago

That's why I said "if it was brought to the Board's attention". I probably should have added "and if they failed to act".

No employees (Midge included) should be faced with the choice of providing adequate care for the animals or violating labor laws.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

My fault. Sorry. I didn't read your post carefuily enough. I agree with you. If there was a budget problem and it was brought to the board's attention, then they should share in the blame.

What I don't understand is the heated debate between two apparently diametrically opposed camps. Mistakes were made, the problem was rectified, and employees will be fully compensated for their work.

I have never met Midge, so I am unable to comment on her managerial skills. If there is a problem, it sounds like the principals need to sit down and try to smooth out their differences.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

I'll state this again because it's relevant and true(yet not a part of the Board's release...hmmmmmm): The labor laws that the investigation turned up were not some evil plot to deny employees overtime. It was a classification problem about who can be a salaried employee. There is no evil wizard behind a curtain twiddling his mustache. It was an oversight. Furthermore, the Executive Director does not handle the bookkeeping or payroll. Has not done it....ever. Keen readers will note that the press release is intentionally vague for no apparent reason. As someone stated earlier, this sort of violation is actually quite common and frankly, isn't even newsworthy. Conclusion: Someone in a position of power is trying very hard to make the executive director look bad by subtly assigning guilt, even though anyone associated with the shelter knows the things of which I speak. It's not a secret. In the words of Bill and Ted: "Strange things are afoot at the Circle K."

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Let me try again. The LJW article states in part:

"Humane Society Board President Megan Hiebert said an investigation determined that employees were not correctly being paid for overtime or were being required to work after clocking out."

Requiring employees to work after clocking out is not an oversight problem, or a misinterpretation of what constitutes a salaried as opposed to an hourly employee. Salaried employees don't punch a time clock.

And by the way, nobody here is suggesting an evil plot, but instead, a mistake in policy and judgment.

Speak again, Yedi. .

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

That one I cannot answer, sir. You would have to ask Ms. Hiebert her motives for repaying employees......and yes I meant REpaying.....as in doing it again.

All I can say is that the thought that any employee was "forced" to clock out and continue working is both laughable and ludicrous.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for your candidness. However, your answer is confusing. If employees were required to continue working after clocking out, and were later properly compensated for the extra time as required by Labor laws, how does that constitute "repaying them, as in doing it again."

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

Here's where it gets fuzzy. From what I understand, certain employees were allowed comp time on a pay period to work off on the next pay period, i.e. if they needed to pay a bill they didn't have enough money for or had an unexpected expense, etc. There was also a situation concerning an injured or sick employee who other employees worked "comp" hours for.
These are both nice things that were allowed by whomever does the payroll but leave the Society in a tenuous position should an employee be "convinced" that they have been wronged. So certain members of the board have gone back and decided to pay money that they have already paid. Why? So they could put out a press release saying exactly the things that it said and the implications therein. But again, the executive director has nothing to do with the payroll or the time cards, yet it was the executive director that was put on paid leave (and eventually allowed to resume her duties). If you read between the lines you can see the political maneuvering going on here by certain members of the board.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Requiring employees to work off the clock is one thing. Allowing them to work off the clock is another. Perhaps the reporter used the wrong word. I am still confused, but I will leave it at that. .

Nonetheless, it appears that there were some mistakes made. Big deal. The problem was recognized and properly addressed. Midge sounds like a tireless and dedicated protector of animal rights, and should be allowed to continue in her position, in my humble opinion.

But I still have a problem with requiring employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement. What's there to hide? Private for-profit organizations have a legitimate reason to property proprietary secrets. Non-profit agencies dedicated to the public good do not.

Keltazon 3 years, 10 months ago

Given that the humane society is primary lead on animal cruelty investigattions in Douglas County, non-disclosure agreements make perfect sense. Staff would be privy to alot of information that needs to be maintained as confidential until the matter is fully-reviewed by the DA's office and, if charges are filed, a district court.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Fair enough. Then hopefully, the non-disclosure agreement is limited in scope to those issues.

lawrencenerd 3 years, 10 months ago

No, it isn't. The little personality cult you fools have around worshiping somebody who violated human rights is both laughable and ludicrous though.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

A minor violation of labor laws hardly rises to the level of a "violation of human rights" as that concept is commonly understood. You are the one who sounds foolish.

lawrencenerd 3 years, 10 months ago

So you think labor laws were not created to protect human rights? What type of rights do you think they were put in place to protect then?

The first sentence of this calls labor rights human rights.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

...as if the Executive Director was camped by the timeclock with a shotgun, looking like Rooster Cogburn, lol.

lawrencenerd 3 years, 10 months ago

No, she just had to threaten to fire people. Wage slavery at its finest.

Fixed_Asset 3 years, 10 months ago

While I imagine this was not an evil plot to deny employees overtime, it does not negate the fact that FLSA was violated. Midge has been there a long time and a good executive director would be well-versed in labor laws and make certain the law was followed. She is rsponisible for ALL EMPLOYEE ACTIONS.

Unreal 3 years, 10 months ago

Yeti, thank you as always, for being a voice of reason and posting FACTUAL information! It's sad how humans can get that "pack mentality" going when there is someone who is easy prey. If Midge had nothing to do with payroll whatsoever (which makes sense), then the finger pointing needs to be directed to the person on the Board who did handle payroll & timecards. All that aside though, this issue has been dealt with and I'm sure won't happen again. So people, MOVE ON! The animals in that shelter need all of us to quit dwelling on this issue and focus our attention and energies on them.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Requiring employees to continue to work after clocking out is not a payroll or accounting issue, it's a policy issue. Polices are establishment by management, which, in this case, appears to be Midge. You obviously disagree. Please explain your logic.

Kim Murphree 3 years, 10 months ago

I believe there is a person on the board that wants Midge's job. I also believe that if and when that happens there will be more animals killed regularly as a part of the shelter's operations. What I hope is that we all recognize the amazing job Midge has done as Executive Director--where this shelter was when she took it over, how much of her life has been dedicated to this operation---exemplified by the MONTHS she has gone without vacation or time off, and what a pivitol role she has played in creating and enforcing the animal cruelty laws that are now on the books. Let's take a moment and draw a line down a page--what she has accomplished on one side and what we think she might have done better on the other--my guess is that the accomplishment side will far outweigh the other. Ordering the re-classification of salary hours to hourly hours was obviously not considered a criminal act or the Feds would have levied a fine. That's what I believe--I do not believe that anyone of the members of the board or their friends could have done a finer job, working with so little for so long--dedication and determination. I hope Megan and the rest of the board will take a moment to think about all these years of service---and if they want change, to assist Midge with that, instead of trying to find a way to move her out of the position.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Folks who do amazing jobs are not immune from mistakes. Your belief that a board member with an eye for Midge's job orchestrated the whole thing borders on the absurd. What did that board member do? Bribe the federal labor investigator.

Wild conspiracy theories are so old school. You might have better luck joining the wacky 911 and JFK assassination conspiracy nuts.

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

I'll repost this here concerning the DOL: Ask yourself, why would the board run their "own" investigation finding fault where the DOL did not? The release says the latter employees were not subject to the DOL's investigation....Huh? If there was wrongdoing, why on Earth would they not be subject to DOL investigation? There is no statute of limitations. Does the Board honestly expect people to believe that employees were being forced to work "sweatshop" style and the Department of Labor decided NOT to out that? Or that the Board is somehow more adept at these type of investigations than the DOL? This would be the part where I remind people that the Board President runs the Clinton Lake Marina, not a Labor Law firm.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

"Finding fault where the DOL did not." Huh? The DOL did not exonerate the shelter regarding the "latter" employees. They simply did not conduct an investigation regarding thjose employees because certrain types of employees are exempt from the protections of The Fair Labor Standards Act

TheYetiSpeaks 3 years, 10 months ago

I can guarantee that if anyone in the United States of America was being forced to work for free it would not be ignored when brought to light. While you are being respectful, I feel you are questioning certain parts of what I say just to question it. Examine this whole situation. Why is it so odd? Why don't the pieces fit? The misinformation and maneuvering is rampant. But I said my piece and now I am retiring from the fray as the truth will eventually come out...or maybe it wont and people can believe whatever they want. Eventually the LHS and it's executive director will part ways and the Humane Society can go back to being the poorly run, underachieving eyesore it was 15 years ago. The sad thing is (for people who care), it's the animals who will pay the price.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Good idea. I should probably retire with you.

Was not trying to be recalcitrant. The main problem is probably the lack of specifics in the LJW articles. IN vieswing the many comments, it was apparent to me that there were many aspects of the issue that were not explained in the article, and I was simply trying to figure out what was going on, as I am an unrepentent dog lover. My little papilon sleeps next to me.

Kim Murphree 3 years, 10 months ago

Really...because I have seen this type of thing before, my opinion is wrong? I don't think so, and I think your reply borders on Wacky if you really beieve that this couldn't happen...perhaps the person who wants the job is not a board member--maybe its a person who complained with friends on the board?? That's not absurd and it wouldn't be the first something like that has happened at a non-profit agency--if you think THAT, then your opinion needs adjusting.

mbulicz 3 years, 10 months ago

Yes, because obviously someone wants to step into that role and all the luxuries: months gone without vacation or time off, etc etc. A board member must be out to get her, for sure.

Kim Murphree 3 years, 10 months ago

Really...you don't think that someone else wants this position? Hmmm...let's see what happens if Midge is removed, shall we?

ResQd 3 years, 10 months ago

I totally agree. She is the best that has ever happened to the Lawrence Humane Society. Just go to Topeka or Kansas City and see for yourself!

missmagoo 3 years, 10 months ago

Midge's days are numbered. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

Its rare to find so much passion about a relatively unknown individual on both ends of the emotional spectrum. Must be quite an interesting woman. wouldn't mind meeting her some day.

pace 3 years, 10 months ago

The Humane shelter, it's director, its staff, it's service have vital interaction with many members of the community. So to state "relatively unknown individual" would be incorrect.
I am glad the practice has been discovered and stopped. I have financially supported the shelter and also donate towels and food at times. I hope the problems have been fixed and the board will stay close and monitor the work place environment. I think it can be a lesson learned or a harbinger. I hope any non profit, for that matter, any business treats employees fairly and obeys labor rules. The work they do in the shelter is crucial not just for the animals welfare but for the community. It is hard work. I plan to contribute to the shelter as usual.

guess_again 3 years, 10 months ago

I am not sure the person who posted a blog about the "Midge issue" some weeks ago and got everybody all stirred up, while ostensibly wanting to be supportive Midge, did Midge any favor whatsoever.

And I think that person was told so at the time.

guess_again 3 years, 10 months ago

I am not sure the person who posted a blog about the "Midge issue" some weeks ago and got everybody all stirred up, while ostensibly wanting to be supportive Midge, did Midge any favor whatsoever.

And I think that person was told so at the time.

camper 3 years, 10 months ago

The communication and policy should be a two-way street. If one side has a red light on this, you will see conflict. It looks like they are working on this. But, these things are mostly resolved when the board and director and staff meet and work these things out. Because this came to attention, it raises a red flag that some issues do indeed need to be worked out. Still, these things often lead to positive results. If not there are more underlying issues. But I can't speculate. Though I hope they are now resolved.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.