As the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division steps up enforcement initiatives, the need for employers to monitor their wage and hour practices is growing.
Speaking at the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2012 Employment Law and Legislative Conference March 5, Tammy McCutchen of Littler Mendelson in Washington, a former Bush appointee at DOL, offered tips to help employers reduce their legal exposure:
- Evaluate current compliance efforts;
- Adopt wage and hour policies and procedures that help correct problems. For instance, if overtime is prohibited, tell employees how to report a manager who forces them to work more than 40 hours in a week;
- Implement a complaint and investigation process internally within your company; and
- Conduct training (target managers specifically so they can ensure proper implementation of policies on the front lines).
DOL’s directed investigations (those initiated without an employee complaint) have increased in recent years from 27 percent of investigations in 2010 to 32 percent in 2011, McCutcheon said.
The agency has announced a number of targeted initiatives in recent years, including a major effort focused on misclassification of independent contractors that has resulted in memorandums of understanding with the Internal Revenue Service and 13 states.