The good news? FLSA claims are down in 2013. The bad news? They’re still as expensive as anything to deal with.
On average, employers paid a whopping $4.5 million to settle a wage-and-hour case in 2013.
That’s according to new research from NERA Economic Consulting’s Trends in Wage Hour Settlements study.
Some more troubling stats from the analysis:
- Despite lower overall average settlements, the per-claimant average settlement value was up to about $7,000 in 2013
- The top five largest settlements for 2013 ranged from $11.6 million to $35 million, and
- Overtime remains the most common allegation (45% of cases).
The consulting firm examined 51 wage-and-hour cases that were settled for about $215 million in the first three quarters of 2013.
Admittedly, some of those numbers are down slightly from recent years, but they’re still proof that a) wage-and-hour claims aren’t going away, and b) settling them is still very expensive.
Do you have $4 million lying around?
And here’s Exhibit A for just how costly these cases can get.
Harris County Hospital District, doing business as Harris Health System in Houston, recently agreed to pay more than $4 million in back wages and liquidated damages to settle a wage-and-hour lawsuit with 4,573 technicians and current and former nurses at 46 locations.
An investigation by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions.
According to the investigation, Harris Health System didn’t include the workers’ incentive pay when calculating overtime premiums.
Because of that, Harris failed to pay workers the correct overtime rate when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Additionally, the employer failed to maintain proper records of weekly hours worked by some of its employees.
The affected employees worked as nurses, lab technicians, respiratory care practitioners, X-ray technicians, medical technologists, registered pharmacy technicians, eligibility auditors and security officers.