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Federal wage and hour enforcement

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2021 | Employment Law

Federal wage and hour laws are enforced by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. They are responsible for taking and investigating complaints of wage and hour law violations, and then if cause is found, charging employers with violations of those laws.

Current enforcement efforts

Since fiscal year 2019 (starting on October 1, 2018, and ending on September 30, 2019), the WHD has collected over $322 million in illegally withheld wages from 215,000 employees. And, as a result, of this record-breaking year, DOL has steadily increased its outreach to employers and employees, which has, in turn, fed an ever-increasing number of complaints that are filed with DOL each year.

Most common DOL complaint: wage and hour

By far, the most common complaint DOL receives is for wage and hour violations from employees that believe they have been paid unfairly. This includes those seeking unpaid overtime pay, misclassification of employees as contractors and non-payment of worktime. Indeed, DOL recommends that when an employer has an opportunity to be fair, do it, and that what is good for employees will be what is good for employees, as well.

Improper denials of overtime pay

DOL explains that employees should ensure that they are not misclassified as exempt from overtime pay. This can be costly to the employee in the near term because they are not being fully paid, but it can also be costly to the employer as backpay, fines, fees and interest can be costly. To be clear, federal law presumes that employees are entitled to overtime pay, and it is actually on the employer to prove otherwise. So, for those employees that currently think they are exempt from overtime pay, a call to an attorney may be worthwhile.

Keep accurate records

Sherwood, Oregon, employees should keep track of everything, including their job descriptions, actual assigned duties and time worked, including hours. Keeping track of job descriptions and duties will help an attorney determine whether they have been classified appropriately. And, keeping track of one’s time worked will make sure that one is not underpaid and will keep an accurate track of unpaid regular and overtime.