HR Support on Wage and Hour Audits

Editor's Note: The feds are on the prowl for violations of the FLSA, but employers that comply with the law have little to fear.

Michael CardmanOverview: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations are enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the US Department of Labor.

WHD focuses its enforcement efforts primarily on vulnerable workersand targeted industries such as agriculture and hospitality. But any employer can be subject to a visit from Uncle Sam, whether it's the result of an employee complaint, an industry-wide investigation or just plain old bad luck.

Audits usually involve an on-site visit, with interviews of employees and a review of all pertinent records. If the investigator concludes that an employer has violated the FLSA, the investigator will normally first attempt to secure a voluntary settlement in which the employer pays back wages and commits to comply with the FLSA going forward. If that doesn't pan out, the WHD may inform employees of the violation or initiate litigation.

Trends: Employers can expect the number of wage and hour audits to hold steady or even increase as the Obama administration continues to make FLSA enforcement a top priority.

Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor

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