Last month I wrote on the rise of wage and hour litigation. In that post I talked about how I believe wage and hour issues are often misunderstood by employers which often results in misclassification of workers or possibly "off-the-clock" allegations where workers are not properly credited for time worked.
Yesterday, I heard the same sentiments from lawyers at the Iowa State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Seminar. The plaintiffs’ lawyers in the audience had a glint in their eye during the presentation on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA).
- The FSLA is a plaintiffs friendly act. It is truly the one law that favors the employee and consequently plaintiffs’ lawyers. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are usually able to tell whether a lawsuit has merit very early in the process. Further, class actions are often conditionally certified without having to meet the typical standards for class action certification.
- Companies often make mistakes. Wal-Mart, Merrill-Lynch, Starbucks, Citigroup and the list goes on and on. These companies have access to herds of the brightest and best lawyers. Yet, many successful lawsuits have been filed against these and other companies for wage and hour claims. What about all those smaller businesses out there? Let’s just say I have my doubts these smaller businesses are doing it any better.
- The dollars at risk are HUGE! $172 million, 78 million, 98 million, 87 million. Even smaller businesses potentially face risks in the hundreds of thousands. Willful violations are not uncommon which double the damages and attorney’s fees are generally awarded to the winning plaintiffs.
How can businesses avoid wage and hour claims? Stay tuned for the next post . . .