Category Archives: Wage and Hour

Answers to some common questions about paying workers plus how to comply with FLSA regulations relating to exemptions, minimum wage, and overtime.

More FLSA Sins: Youth, Records, Interns, and Deductions

"In yesterday’s Advisor, we covered the first five sins of wage and hour; today, five more sins (and a bonus sin), plus we announce a new webinar that will coach you find misclassification mistakes before the feds do."

[Go here for sins 1 to 5]

Sin #6. Inappropriate deductions

Just because you’re a manager, it doesn’t mean you can come in late. I‘m docking you a half-day’s pay.

Sorry to hear that you are leaving. The amount due on the loan the company made to you is coming right out of your final paycheck.


Wage and Hour Simple? The 10 Sins

"Minimum wage and overtime—how hard could it be? Wage and hour should be simple, but it’s just not. Where are the 10 most common “sins” managers and supervisors commit in complying with the “simple” rules?"

Sin #1. Failure to pay the minimum wage

We’ll pay you $5 an hour until you learn the ropes; then you move up to $7 an hour.

Virtually all employees are entitled to receive at least the minimum wage (the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour; many states have higher minimum wages) for all hours worked. Special arrangements may be made for waitstaff (although their tips have to put them above the minimum wage) and for certain training situations.


How to Calculate Employee Reimbursements for Mileage Expenses

“The issue of employer reimbursement of expenses has now moved front and center in the full canvas of employment compensation litigation.” Harold M. Brody noted in a recent BLR webinar. “Now employers are realizing, increasingly, that, like their wage/hour practices, they now must focus very closely on their expense reimbursement policies and make sure that those, too, are legally-compliant.” Here we take a closer look at perhaps the most common employee expense: mileage.


10 Tips for Avoiding Wage and Hour Investigations

"In yesterday’s Advisor, BLR Legal Editor Susan Prince, JD. offered her take on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) wage and hours audits. Today, Prince’s 10 strategies for dealing with the audits, plus an introduction and an exclusive free FLSA checklist."

Prince’s 10 Strategies

The following are 10 great strategies to prevent or handle a wage and hour investigation:

  1. Avoid unfair compensation practices. Make sure employees are compensated in a consistent manner. If an employer’s pay practices are consistent, complaints are less likely to arise, and the employer will be in a better situation if the DOL does launch an investigation.
  2. Understand the regulations. It is important that employers take the time and make a concerted effort to understand and familiarize themselves with the FLSA. It is the law, and if employers fail to follow the law they may face litigation or a DOL audit.
  3. Train managers. Train managers so they are fluent in the language of the FLSA.
  4. Analyze state vs. federal law. Determine whether the state’s wage and hour laws conflict with federal law, then follow the law that is most beneficial to the employee.
  5. Pay past overtime due. If it is determined that an employee is wrongly classified as exempt, the employer should determine how many overtime hours the employee has worked in the past 2 years, then pay the employee the overtime due. The employer should also have the employee sign a release to free the employer from further liability. Paying past overtime due to employees now will be far less expensive than paying them in a DOL settlement.
  6. Respond to internal complaints expeditiously. If an employee files a wage and hour complaint internally, the employer should take it seriously. Since many investigations are prompted by an employee’s complaint, employers might be able to prevent an investigation by addressing an employee’s initial internal complaint.
  7. Seek compliance assistance from the DOL. Varied compliance tools and information are available on DOL’s website.


Big Money When DOL Comes Calling

"Although no industry is immune from a wage and hour investigation, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has targeted low-wage industries with vulnerable, and often immigrant, workforces, and those industries with a history of chronic violations, including garment manufacturing, agriculture, and health care."


Although no industry is immune from a wage and hour investigation, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has targeted low-wage industries with vulnerable, and often immigrant, workforces, and those industries with a history of chronic violations, including garment manufacturing, agriculture, and health care.


Supervisor’s Job? Keep HR’s Options Open

"Yesterday’s Advisor featured attorney Mark Schickman’s take on basic guidelines for supervisor training. Today, more tips for supervisors, plus we announce a timely webinar focused on meaningful compensation metrics."

Your supervisors aren’t technical experts on HR matters, and they‘re not going to be, but you can train them to act in a way that preserves HR’s options, says Schickman, a partner with Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP in San Francisco. He offered his tips during a recent webinar sponsored by BLR® and HR Hero®.


Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet Served with $2 Million Wage and Hour Bill

"Yesterday’s Advisor covered the G&K Services case in which one policy discriminated against both men and women (!). Today, an expensive wage and hour case, plus an introduction to the comprehensive wage and hour guide that will help prevent those expensive lawsuits."

In the Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet case, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has sued to recover nearly $2 million in unpaid wages and damages for 84 employees.

Specifically, the lawsuit is against Wang’s Partner Inc., doing business as Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet, and its owner, Shu Wang. The suit seeks to recover $1,997,726.


‘Steering’—2014’s New Twist on Discrimination

"We’re hearing that HR’s watchdog agencies—the DOL, EEOC, and OFCCP—are looking at a new variant on discrimination called “steering.” It’s not immediate discrimination, but long-range discrimination."

What Is Steering?

“Steering” may be charged when people in a protected class are “steered” to jobs with different long-term potential.

For example, in a grocery store, women might be steered to entry-level jobs in the floral department while men are steered to jobs in the meat department. Initially, both jobs pay the same, but the advancement opportunities are significantly greater in the meat department. That is viewed as discrimination by steering.


Wage Garnishments 101

Back taxes, defaulted student loans, back child support or alimony, court judgments – any of these might be reasons you will have to start a wage garnishment for an employee. It’s important for employers to understand their obligations when they receive creditor garnishments, income withholding orders, tax levies and the like, since these are legally binding documents directing the employer to perform a specific function toward payment on an employee’s debt.


IRS Wage Garnishment Basics

IRS tax levies vary greatly from other wage garnishments, with one major difference being that they are administratively issued, which means there is no court order required.


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