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Five Labor Law Mistakes To Avoid


Ever since the Fair Labor Standards Act's revised regulations became effective a few years ago, overtime has become a hot-button topic for employers and employees alike. Worse, it has also become a prime target area for plaintiffs' attorneys, since - even with the revisions - the FLSA is an extraordinarily difficult statute to comprehend and comply with.

Fortunately, some of the most common mistakes made by employers are easily identified and remedied. Whether you have five or five thousand employees, here are five mistakes you should try to avoid:

  1. Believing That Salaried Employees Are Automatically Exempt From Overtime
  2. Misclassifying Assistant Managers
  3. Automatic Deductions For Meal Breaks
  4. Not Paying For Overtime That Has Not Been Approved in Advance
  5. Allowing Employees To "Waive" Their Right To Overtime

Compliance with the FLSA is a task you must take seriously. The number of lawsuits involving these claims is growing at an alarming rate, and the effects can be devastating for businesses of all sizes. Because the FLSA has a penalty provision that allows plaintiffs in some circumstances to recover twice their actual back wages, and because it automatically entitles prevailing plaintiffs to their attorneys' fees, even a minor violation can wind up being very expensive. And many of these cases become collective actions, where the plaintiff invites all other similarly situated employees to join the litigation.

This article appeared in the August 25, 2009 issue of San Diego News Network.

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