Overview: Employers that violate Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations can be held liable for back wages, liquidated damages, equitable relief, compensatory damages, attorney fees, civil penalties, injunctive penalties and fines.
Because it is relatively easy for employees who were similarly situated - that is, subject to a common policy or plan - to sue as a group under a collective action, employers' liabilities for back wages and liquidated damages can multiply, sometimes leading to multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.
Trends: The number of lawsuits filed under the FLSA continues to climb year after year. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division remains committed in its efforts to enforce the law.
Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect increased civil penalties for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, effective August 1, 2016.
Washington employers that employ minor employees under age 18 and seek to inform the minor employees and their supervisors about legally required meal and rest breaks and to demonstrate compliance with Washington law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
An employer may use this policy to outline reporting procedures if employees have any complaints or concerns regarding unlawful, unethical or retaliatory conduct. Many employment statutes, including the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, prohibit retaliating against, or interfering with, employees who exercise their rights under the statute.
HR guidance on FLSA penalties.