Wage & Hour: WHD
“It’s a case of perception vs. reality. The plaintiff perceives he (she) was disciplined, retaliated against, and harassed. The reality is different. He (she) was terminated for a legitimate, non-discriminatory, non-retaliatory reason by a professional, well-trained manager with supportive documentation.”
Timekeeping and Payroll Best Practices
McCutchen suggests HR managers pay attention to the issues below. McCutchen made her comments at the SHRM Annual Conference and Exhibition, held recently in Orlando.
Causes of Off-the-Clock Claims
- Paying shift time
- Failing to capture pre- and postshift work (booting up time, preshift meeting time, etc.)
- Automatic deductions for unpaid meal breaks
- Exception time reporting
- Paper timesheets
- Inconsistent time and payroll records
Sin #1. Failure to set meaningful goals
“Well, Sandy, I think we did fairly well this year, eh?”
“Tracy, I was sort of hoping you’d make more progress this year.”
Evaluation is difficult when there aren’t clear, measurable goals. Many experts recommend the S-M-A-R-T approach to setting goals. That means goals should be:
Yesterday’s Advisor presented Attorney Franck Wobst’s key things you should include in documentation. Today, 9 things not to include, plus an introduction to Employee Compensation in Your State.
The time employees spend commuting to and from their regular place of work each day is not work time. (But the same standard may not apply to an accident on the way to work, where there could be issues under workers’ compensation or vicarious liability theories, cautions Wenbourne.)
Prince’s 10 Strategies
The following are 10 great strategies to prevent or handle a wage and hour investigation:
- 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.
- 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.
- Train managers. Train managers so they are fluent in the language of the FLSA.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Seek compliance assistance from the DOL. Varied compliance tools and information are available on DOL’s website.