What's in store as we begin 2012?
Look for the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division to be even more aggressive in 2012! Where you used to receive a letter, then a phone call, and then an investigator, now you will get more than one approach at the same time.
Stacie Caraway, of Miller & Marin states that one of her clients is getting daily aggressive phone calls!
You used to be able to self-audit, but now the DOL will insist that the investigator make back pay determinations. In the past, you could typically resolve complaints with full back pay, but now the DOL will likely want to assess civil penalties and those dollars will go back to the Wage and Hour Division to fund more investigations.
The DOL is also increasingly teaming up with other agencies – state agencies, workers’ comp, unemployment and tax agencies, all of whom have an interest in failure to pay or underpayment of employees.
Another attorney, Charles Plumb of Macaffey and Taft says we can also expect:
- More aggressive action by all agencies
- More sharing of information between agencies
- Aggressive investigators that want to see every piece of paper
- Increased scrutiny of wage and hour settlement agreements
- The adding of state law claims to many federal claims
- Continued emphasis on independent contractors
- Increased activity from an increasingly more sophisticated and knowledgeable workforce
- No end in sight in wage and hour litigation – the availability of attorneys’ fees makes this area a lucrative one
With all of these changes either in place or on the horizon, it is crucial for you to get up to date on the latest employment law developments so you can keep your organization in compliance and avoid costly legal entanglements.