Eight years ago, the federal government had 730 Department of Labor (DOL) investigators. Today, they have 1,000. That means more people available to investigate violations. Further, the process has changed. Employers used to be able to call the DOL and request a ruling by submitting position details. They would get a decision as to whether this was an exempt or non-exempt position and receive a pass on any past violations. Now, the DOL is less focused on these smaller issues and is spending more time on enforcement with big money implications that may draw media coverage.
Also increasing is the number of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits across all industries. Just in the last decade, the number of cases has more than doubled.
Fisher & Phillips’ Matthew Simpson suggested that this rise in cases is due to an increased understanding of labor laws, liquidated damages, relatively easy litigation and attorneys’ fees. In many cases, the legal fees far exceed the actual fine or settlement.
In his presentation on wage-hour laws, Simpson shared a slide stating that individual employee settlements average $7K, but class action cases average $4.5M. These large cases are the ones making the news. MarathonHR’s human resources administration services aim to help you avoid litigation – and stay out of the headlines.