Get Prepared or Face the Consequences of Non-compliance with Overtime FLSA Violations | DCR Workforce Blog

Get Prepared or Face the Consequences of Non-compliance with Overtime FLSA Violations

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor (DOL) is always alert to catch any employers who violate overtime pay requirements as laid down by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), whether inadvertent or intentional. Since employers are forbidden to retaliate against workers who challenge their failure to pay overtime, many workers find it easy to question their employers over the matter. Some industry sectors, such as retail and hospitality, bear the brunt of these complaints.

As most of these cases involve a group of workers, many such cases quickly assume large proportions and become class action suits, requiring the employer to pay back wages and damages as well as civil penalties. Of late, police departments are gaining publicity through the overtime violation charges filed against them by their employees.

Deliberately or unknowingly, employers keep getting into hot water with employment law and none more so than overtime pay requirements. Consider these recent cases:

  • 28 Petersburg Police Department employees sued the City of Petersburg, VA, for overtime pay which they are owed for over a decade in violation of Virginia law as well as Federal law. Though the department automatically paid its workers for clocking up to 80 hours in a 14 day cycle, it required them to submit a handwritten overtime slip for any hours worked beyond 80. However, these slips were rarely paid and never paid immediately. The pay records are usually indecipherable and handwritten, making it difficult if not impossible to identify any discrepancies in pay. Now the law will have to establish the claim and get justice done.
  • Restaurants are usually in trouble for failing to honor their overtime pay requirements. A recent case involves the restaurant Gatten Sushi, which demanded 90 hour work days but docked pay for 10 minute breaks and shaved hours off timecards. Now it has agreed to pay $465,000 in back wages and damages to nearly 369 employees and civil penalties to the tune of $156,640.
  • Three employees of the supermarket giant Kroger Co. filed a class-action lawsuit against their employer for pay of overtime work. They worked in a call center for Kroger (along with 300 others) asking only three basic questions of every single job applicant at Kroger. They claimed that their supervisors were aware that they were working more than 40 hour weeks but were not paid any overtime. Apparently, all the employees were considered to have exempt status by Kroger, which employs a total of 422,000 workers across 35 states.
  • Restoration Hardware Inc. was charged with violating overtime pay law, failing to provide meal breaks and rest periods as mandated under California law, and also for failing to reimburse workers for business expenses. The case has resulted in a preliminary settlement of $1.5 million even as the class members are counted at 2,200 dating back to June 4, 2009. The full costs of this case are not yet determined.

Employers who deny overtime pay to low wage earning, non-exempt workers are found to err on two counts:

  • They diminish the ability of their workers to care for themselves and their families.
  • They gain an unfair economic advantage over their competitors who pay fair wages to their non-exempt workers.

The Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions aim to control any noncompliance and violations by educating employers of their responsibilities. They also advise employees of their status and rights as non-exempt workers and tell them how an employer cannot make them waive their right to overtime pay and tell them of the available avenues for seeking redress against any FLSA violations. With the Overtime Regulations set to change in 2016, employers had better get prepared to avoid being found culpable of any violations including those for the off-time use of work-issued devices.

Have you ever been in a questionable situation regarding overtime?

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.