September-October 2022

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 44 26 PalletCentral • September-October 2022 Workforce By Phillip M. Perry Employers grapple with changing wage and hour regulations. Avoiding OVER OVERTIME TIME Penalties W age and hour law has long bedeviled employers. Who is exempt from overtime rules? How do you calculate time-and-a-half when employees work off the clock and fail to record their hours? And how about those remote back-office workers, spending a few minutes here and there tackling business emails? e wrong answers can spark costly penalties. "Employers who fail to correctly pay overtime must make up back wages plus 'liquidated damages' equal to an equivalent amount," says Douglas E. Witte, who represents businesses in labor and employment law matters at Madison, WI-based Boardman & Clark. "If the Department of Labor (DOL) thinks an employer willfully violated the law the statute of limitations gets bumped up from two to three years. And employers may also have to pay attorneys' fees for individuals who have brought successful lawsuits." e DOL, the IRS and state agencies have been increasing audits and suits for wage and hour violations. But the latest legal wrinkle is even more troubling: An increase in criminal prosecutions. "e Department of Labor and state prosecutors are devoting more attention to finding that violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other wage and hour laws constitute criminal acts," says Bob Gregg, Co-chair of the Employment Practice Law Group at Boardman and Clark. "Now the Department of Justice and state prosecutors are devoting more attention to finding these same matters can also constitute criminal acts. Both employers and managers are facing prosecution, in addition to civil liability. e big difference is that the company pays most of the civil liability. In criminal cases, the individual gets convicted." Workplace observers expect compliance to get tougher as the federal government starts tightening regulations. "Part of the Biden agenda is to empower workers," says Ann F. Kiernan, an employment law attorney and lead trainer at Fair Measures, a management practices consulting firm in Denver. "I expect a lot of pro-employee activity, to include increased enforcement by the Department of Labor." Among the likely regulatory steps over the coming months: boosting the overtime salary threshold and rewording exemption parameters. Many states are also passing legislation aimed to protect and expand employee overtime.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of palletcentral - September-October 2022