Department of Labor Investigates — and wants your money
Department of Labor statistics show 73% of its investigations result in violations.
Four areas that regulators focus on—and that you need to double-check:
(Let’s see… We need to look at just 4 areas of any business and we have a 73% $ucce$$ rate…)
Employee records retention.
States vary widely in how many years you are required to hold records:
1 Year: Louisiana, Utah
2 Years: California, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, West Virginia,
3 Years: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine,
Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,
Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Washington State, Wisconsin
4 Years: Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,
South Dakota, Virginia
5 Years: Alabama, Florida
6 Years: Hawaii, Kentucky, New Jersey
*Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, and Vermont specify a retention period
“sufficient to administer employment law” or similar language.
Note: Federal law requires payroll records retention for 3 years.
What’s happening a lot now is that employers are hiring back former employees as “consultants. However, they are typically doing the same work that they did as employees,if things turn sour, they are likely to be employees who are owed back pay and overtime. The DOL now shares information with the IRS, and they will be interested in uncollected back taxes, FICA, and so on.
Pay special attention to meal breaks and whether employees are truly getting an interrupted 30 minutes. Often we interrupt the meal with a business emergency. If you have a time-keeping system that auto-deducts for meals, that’s trouble. The system will deduct the full 30-minute meal-time, but some of that period will have been time worked that should be compensated.
Regulators are looking closely at exempt employees and whether they are truly exempt vs. non-exempt. Remember, this determination is based on the job not the preference of the employee. You have to run the salary and 20 factor test to be sure you are making the correct, legally compliant decision.
Glenna Hecht – HR Consultant
Speaker, Trainer, Founder of
Humanistic Consulting &
Author of I Hate HR… but I gotta do it anyway!
469-766-6110 (Dallas, TX)
If you have an HR emergency requiring professional guidance, call Glenna!
(She’s in Dallas, but works for clients all over the U.S.)
Another thought — Before you act too quickly..!
Jumping to a premature conclusion is the most common and potentially expensive mistake employers make. Managers have an issue and think, “We’ll nip this in the bud.” That’s an emotional response and makes for poor decisions. Managers must learn to step back. Say, that someone says something negative and a discipline or termination decision is made at the department level without regard to the total organization. You must ask, “Have other situations been handled similarly?” or “Would I feel comfortable justifying this action to unemployment or a jury?” An average wrongful termination lawsuit can cost thousands even if you win.
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