It is no mystery that wage and hour litigation has exploded in this country over the past decade. And while Wal-Mart v. Dukes has had its impact on the size and scope of class actions, and the Class Action Fairness Act has put many cases into federal court, wage and hour litigation is in no danger of going away. McMahon Berger’s attorneys specialize in wage and hour counseling and litigation, and can help you when you are faced with claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and other state and federal laws regulating overtime, comp time, minimum wages, prevailing wages, and compensation in general.
Having had the benefit of a former Deputy Regional Solicitor for the United States Department of Labor within its attorneys’ ranks for almost thirty years, McMahon Berger has advised clients on all manner of wage and hour situations. McMahon Berger has crafted policies, provided training, and assisted clients in managing their way through most conceivable wage and hour situations. McMahon Berger can perform wage and hour audits of your pay practices, time keeping practices, and supervisory practices to help keep you in compliance before problems start.
What do we mean by wage and hour compliance and litigation?
Employers face a myriad of federal and state laws that govern how they must compensate their employers for hours worked. The Fair Labor Standards Act and various state laws require employers to pay their employees for all hours worked, and depending on whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt, require payment of overtime for hours worked in a workweek above 40 (subject to some exceptions). Wage and hour litigation results when employees or regulatory enforcement agencies seek to hold employers accountable for unpaid wages and overtime. These lawsuits can be extremely costly to defend, and employers are well-advised to do what they can to avoid such problems in the first place.
But, you might say, what about independent contractors?
States have become much more aggressive in pursuing employers who have tried to avoid paying overtime or, under upcoming healthcare legislation, benefits to employees by making them independent contractors. Regulatory enforcement agencies and private individuals are bringing more and more claims against companies related to whether the person is truly an independent contractor. Knowing the tests used by the IRS and enforcement agencies, and understanding the risks associated with using independent contractors, is vital to a business’s success in using independent contractors.
How can we avoid these problems?
One of the best things employers can do to avoid wage and hour problems is to train their supervisors on best practices regarding wage and hour situations. Too many times, we see class action lawsuits filed, or complaints with the Department of Labor investigated, due to decisions being made over time that did not comply with the actual policies of the employer. Many times, training can avoid these types of claims. McMahon Berger’s attorneys help supervisors understand the ins and outs of wage and hour law, including:
- minimum wage laws
- prevailing wage laws
- overtime requirements and overtime laws
- donning and doffing issues
- off the clock issues
- rounding errors
In short, McMahon Berger can offer a host of resources to help you avoid trouble before it starts.
What happens if we get sued or investigated?
Sometimes, litigation occurs despite all of a client’s best efforts. McMahon Berger’s experience litigating wage and hour claims at all levels, including administrative investigations, state and federal lawsuits and class actions lawsuits, is a key component to limiting liability getting good results for our clients. Importantly, because of the evolution of collective actions under the FLSA and class actions under state laws, experienced attorneys are an essential component of any good business strategy around minimizing liability and litigating these types of claims. A key example of such experience is knowing the difference between how the statute of limitations works under the FLSA and under Rule 23 class actions filed under state law. McMahon Berger is able and willing to assist management and employers in walking through these difficult areas of the law.