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Protecting Your Business: How To Avoid Common Wage And Hour Violations

Manager next to the time-stamping machine for employees, reviewing time cards

Instances of wage and hour violations can have far-reaching consequences, both legally and ethically. Understanding the nuances of these issues is crucial for businesses aiming to maintain compliance and uphold fair labor practices. If you are looking for further information about wage and hour violations and protecting your business, contact Schwab & Gasparini by calling one of our local offices: Syracuse Office (315) 422-1333, Albany Office (518)591-4664, White Plains Office (914)304-4353, and Hudson Valley (914)304-4353.

The Most Common Wage and Hour Issues

Business owners, especially small business owners, frequently encounter legal issues related to employment disputes. These disagreements are one of the most common types of legal problems faced by businesses and often include the following matters:

Worker Misclassification: Independent Contractor or Employee

Misclassification of employees can be a significant source of wage and hour violations. Properly distinguishing between employees and independent contractors is crucial in avoiding fines and penalties. 

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), workers are protected by minimum wage and overtime pay regulations, provided they are employed by an employer who is covered by the FLSA. In general, misclassification results when an employer incorrectly labels a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee. This is a serious issue as misclassified employees may not be able to receive the minimum wage, overtime pay, or other benefits and protections provided by the law.

Deducting Money from an Employee's Paycheck for Poor Job Performance

An employer can make many types of deductions from an employee's pay. However, if an employer makes deductions from a paycheck for poor job performance, it may result in them violating the law. Employers cannot make deductions from an employee's check for violating a company policy, poor job performance, or other disciplinary reasons. 

Deducting Pay for Short Rest Periods

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, short rest periods, typically 20 minutes or less, are standard in a workplace and are paid as working time. This means these breaks must be counted as hours worked. If employers deduct pay for these short rest breaks, it can result in legal issues for the business. 

Not Paying Employees for Training Time, Travel Time, or Meetings

The Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that employers compensate non-exempt employees for all the time they spend working, which includes not only the hours spent in the office but also the time spent on other activities, even if it occurs outside regular working hours, such as training sessions and travel. Failure to compensate employees for training time, travel time, or meetings can result in wage and hour violations.

Not Keeping Proper Timekeeping Records

Employers must maintain accurate records of their employees' hours worked. This includes keeping track of overtime hours so that the business can comply with wage and hour regulations and protect against potential violations.

How To Protect Your Business From Wage and Hour Lawsuits

While wage and hour lawsuits have become incredibly disruptive for business, there are things that companies can do to protect themselves, including taking the below strategies:

Keep Track of FLSA Changes and Adjust Policies Proactively

It is important for companies to stay informed about any changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act that may affect their industry. They will also need to take the necessary steps to adapt to these changes and update their policies and procedures accordingly. This means organizations will have to pay attention specifically to regulations regarding meal breaks, overtime pay, work performed outside of regular hours, and the use of technology and equipment outside of work.

Audit the Business Regularly and Address Potential Issues

Regular audits of a company's practices, procedures, and employee records are critical in avoiding wage and hour discrepancies. By carefully reviewing job descriptions, employee handbooks, and other forms of communication, organizations can detect and address potential issues before they become legal disputes.

Keep Clean, Accurate Employee Records

Maintaining accurate records of employee timekeeping, wages, and hours worked is critical. Documenting and preserving these details demonstrates compliance with labor laws and defends against wage and hour claims. For further information about keeping accurate employee records or wage and hour violations, reach out to the experienced business attorneys at Schwab & Gasparini today.

Avoid Rounding Hours Worked

Businesses must refrain from rounding practices when it comes to timekeeping. Accurate timekeeping is essential in ensuring employees receive fair compensation for their work. By avoiding rounding practices, companies can maintain precise payment practices and reduce the risk of unintentional violations.

Reach Out To an Experienced Employment Attorney 

Navigating the FLSA's guidelines and rules can be challenging, and it is further complicated by the need to comply with state laws that are constantly being reinterpreted in courts across the country. To learn more about these wage and hour lawsuits, consider reaching out to a knowledgeable and dedicated New York employment lawyer who can provide further information about how these lawsuits impact businesses and how to prevent these conflicts from escalating. 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Wage and Hour Violations

Companies frequently have questions regarding wage and hour violations and how to protect themselves from lawsuits or other disciplinary measures. Below are some prepared responses to some of these frequently asked questions: 

What Happens When There Is a Wage and Hour Violation?

When a company experiences a wage and hour violation, it may have to deal with the following:

  • Legal disputes
  • Reputation problems
  • Financial penalties
  • Criminal prosecution 

What Exactly Is an Independent Contractor?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines an independent contractor as an individual who is self-employed. The payer may have the right to control or direct the result of an independent contractor’s work, but they cannot dictate what will be done and how it will be done. 

Contact Schwab & Gasparini Today and Learn More About Wage and Hour Violations

If you have questions regarding wage and hour violations or any other employment legal issue, contact Schwab & Gasparini today by calling one of the following locations:  Syracuse Office (315) 422-1333, Albany Office (518)591-4664, White Plains Office (914)304-4353, and Hudson Valley (914) 304-4353. Our New York employment attorneys can visit with you and offer you information about wage and hour violations and what may be done to protect your business. 

Sun Jun 16 2024, 12:00am