Federal wage and hour lawsuits have reached a record high, according to federal court data. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cases continue to skyrocket, despite indications that filings had moderated during the past twelve months. This outcome should not come as any surprise as, as the Advi$or has noted in past issues, the DOL has added more enforcement officers, taken a more aggressive approach to enforcement while at the same time promoting a work force environment that encourages workers to report their employers to the DOL.

There were 7,764 FLSA cases filed in the fiscal year ending in March 2013, up 10 percent from fiscal year 2012, which saw 7,064 cases filed. By comparison, there were 4,055 cases filed ten years ago in 2003 and only 1,854 cases filed in 2000.  The claims forming the bulk of these current numbers include misclassification of employees, off-the-clock work, and miscalculation of overtime pay for nonexempt workers.

There are several additional factors that are likely contributing to the recent jump in wage and hour lawsuits. Notably, both exempt and nonexempt employees have faced increased work demands due to the economic situation, causing them to question their employer’s pay practices. Additionally, wage-hour claims are more attractive for plaintiffs’ attorneys, given the large settlements obtained in past cases. Finally, employees have become more aware of wage and hour issues, in part due to social media.

Employers should be proactive to minimize their risk of wage and hour violations.  Our automated timekeeping systems take the subjectivity out of tracking hourly employees time at work and provide all the necessary qualified documentation. Visit our automated timekeeping pages to learn more.

It may behoove all employers to conduct an annual wage and hour compliance audit.  Time & Pay’s professional partnership with SESCO allows our clients to perform audits at a discounted rate.  SESCO  was founded in 1945 by a Wage-Hour investigator and as such, their history is deeply rooted in wage and hour compliance.  For further information, contact Time & Pay or contact SESCO directly by calling 423-764-4127 or email: sesco@sescomgt.com.