The federal government’s added emphasis on enforcing wage-and-hour laws mixed with workers’ contempt for being asked to work longer hours without increased pay during the recession has turned into a dangerous cocktail for employers.
Some scary stats for you to digest:
- The number of wage-and-hour lawsuits that reached federal court increased 15% between 2011 and 2010.
- Last year, 7,008 wage-and-hour suits, many of them class actions, were filed in federal court.
- The number of lawsuits filed under federal and state wage-and-hour laws against employers has increased 32% since 2008.
- Federal courts have seen a 325% increase in these types of claims since 2001.
- In 2011, the Department of Labor (DOL) recovered $225 million in back wages for employees, up 28% from fiscal 2010.
6 top reasons for the rapid increase in wage-and-hour suits:
- Due to budget constraints brought on by the recession, more companies are forcing employees to work off the clock
- Employees are improperly classified as being exempt from overtime
- The proliferation of technology (i.e., smartphones and tablets) has resulted in more work encroaching on employees’ personal time
- With more people working odd hours (e.g., 10-hour days with Fridays off) it’s getting harder to monitor how much employees work per week
- More businesses are being run by people with titles like “assistant manager,” making it difficult to determine who’s actually a manager under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) — since exemption eligibility is based on duties performed and not generic job descriptions, and
- The DOL has added 300 wage-and-hour investigators the past two years, increasing its staff by 40% to 1,050, to increase FLSA enforcement efforts.