How to avoid FLSA Lawsuit
FLSA is a federal law that defines not only the 40-hour workweek but also establishes the overtime wage requirements, minimum wage, and child labor standards. Hour and wage laws are complex and compliance is often an issue. Although a company may have policies and systems in place, a supervisor or a manager can put the organization at risk for unpaid wages, if they are not familiar with the requirements of the FLSA. There can be vagueness as to what time is compensable. For instance, does an employee need to be paid for traveling to work? When does a workday start and end? Determining when a worker is “off the clock”; is not as easy-peasy as many employers may think. The use of common sense and doing what “seems right” most times leads to the hour and wage violations. Here are some of the ways which you can avoid FLSA lawsuit.
Keep accurate and organized records
Maintaining accurate records and taking the required procedures to ensure that the records are accurate is the best thing that a company can do to avoid FLSA lawsuits. At least this may put employers in the best possible position to defend against the lawsuit. Aside from misclassification claims, most FLSA claims revolve around allegations that workers were not paid at the right rate for the time worked or not paid for all for time worked. To resolve those claims, the courts need to see an employer’s time
and payroll records. It is crucial for an employer to prove that their time and payroll records are accurate. If an employer can’t show that their time and payroll records are accurate, then it’s exceedingly difficult to establish those employees’ claims are meritless. The burden is on the employer to pay employees for their work and do so accurately. A timekeeping system with audit logs can help you track all changes that were made.
Create and enforce good policies
To avoid FLSA lawsuit, your company should create, then uniformly implement good policies that meet federal, state, and local requirements. It’s important to have wage and hours policies that are comprehensive. They should outline guidelines and expectations of general business hours concerning shift standards, and timekeeping expectations. It should also capture the process of approving overtime, the consequences for unauthorized overtime or any other issues that govern how workers are paid and what the company expects of its workforce when it comes to hours.
Conduct a thorough review of all state wage and hour laws in all states you have employees. Investigations are often conducted under one or more laws enforced by Wage and Hour Division (WHD). Most employers are subjected to FLSA since it’s the primary federal law for most general application requiring payment of overtime premium pay and minimum wage. These investigations are carried out to
identify workers basic payroll, employment records, employees working hours and types of jobs for certain underage youths. FLSA permits representatives of the department of labor to investigate and gather data concerning wages, hours, and other employment practices. The representatives enter and inspect an employer’s premises, records, and question employees to determine whether anyone has violated any provision of the FLSA. This is why it’s always good to conduct reviews of all state wage and hour laws in all the states you have workers to avoid FLSA lawsuit on your radar.
Train managers to avoid employment litigation landmines
One in every six managers will land in litigation at some point in their career. Training managers on how
to avoid litigation landmines will educate them to avoid such errors. To avoid a lawsuit, it’s best not to
get involved in one in the first place. Train managers by using compelling dramatization”Avoiding
Litigation Landmines” to illustrate the ways managers can avoid litigation which may cost them and your
organization millions of dollars. These landmine litigations include:
• Failure to Document
• Failure to Train
• Failure to Keep Evidence
• Inflating Evaluations
• Failure to Consult Human Resources
• Inappropriate Electronic Messages
• Inconsistent Treatment
• Improper Handling of Employee Departures
• Uncontrolled Employment References
Train your managers to avert these litigations!
Stay current with FLSA changes
Employers are responsible for complying with rules and regulations established by FLSA, as well as applicable local and state wage and hour laws. Violations such as misclassifying employees or incorrectly paying overtime can land you in hot soup with the United States Labor Department or state department of labor. Also, the agencies which enforce wage and hour laws will possibly expose you to employee litigation as well. Staying current with the changing laws helps you avoid FLSA lawsuit.
Put a stop to off the clockwork
FLSA requires that covered and nonexempt workers receive overtime pay at a rate of not less than 1 1/2 an employee’s regular rate of pay after 40-hours of work in a workweek. This means that if an hourly worker works over 40 hours, they better be getting overtime pay. Sometimes organizations encourage managers to look the other way while workers work off the clock, and at times it’s an honest mistake. Either way, your company is liable. To reduce this risk, it’s important that you know what constitutes the clockwork and that you have a plan in place to prevent it from happening.
Log hours and time worked
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employers must keep certain records for nonexempt workers. This includes both hours worked each day and total hours worked each work week. To do so, employers may use any time-keeping method, including timesheets, time clocks or automated timekeeping systems. Employers can allow supervisors to keep track of their workers work hours, have employees track their own time or both. Under FLSA however, employers and not the employees, have the ultimate duty to maintain these records. For this reason, employers can change workers time records but must ensure that the records accurately reflect the time worked.
Seek advice from an expert
It’s important to understand that many plaintiffs’ lawyers saw the FLSA overtime changes that were proposed. This is an excellent opportunity that organizations can utilize. If employers are in any doubt about whether their organizations are compliant with the FLSA or not, it’s advisable they seek counsel and ensure they have their affairs in order. FLSA has many regulations that affect an employer’s duties to his/her employees. Transgression of these federal rules may result in an employer owing workers a lot of money. Further to complying with federal laws, employers should also figure out whether there are state regulations that have more tough requirements than the FLSA. The key to avoiding breaking of both federal and state labor laws is retaining extensive detailed records of each employee’s hours, work activities and compensating employees for the FLSA requirements.