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Court cuts off access to job records

An employer defending an overtime pay case can’t demand records from the employee’s past employers, unless the employer knows the employee earlier sued for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

A Norfolk U.S. District Court said a trucking company’s subpoenas to three former employers of truck driver J. David Singletary II were overbroad

On a first-impression legal point, Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. said Singletary had standing to challenge the employer’s subpoenas duces tecum because has a personal right to the information in his employment records.

The employer, Sterling Transport Company, asked for “the complete employment file” for Singletary from past employers, including “application, evaluations, payroll records, correspondence, notes, records … omitting nothing.”

Such subpoenas could lead to production of medical information, social security numbers, payroll information, income tax information, information on family members and documents “completely extraneous to the litigation,” Morgan said.

The court entered a protective order to safeguard Singletary against “annoyance, embarrassment, oppression or undue burden or expense.” Morgan said if Sterling Transport had information that Singletary previously had engaged in litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act against any particular employer, it could ask for relevant docuemnts without first getting permission from the court.

But, “beyond that narrow exception,” Sterling Transport had to obtain leave of court before issuing subpoenas for employment records, Morgan said in his Nov. 7 opinion in Singletary v. Sterling Transport Inc.
–Deborah Elkins

One comment

  1. This is good. Thank you Judge Morgan for putting a stop to all the fishing trips that civil defense attorneys like to take.

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