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  January 31, 2014

magmagglass.jpgHow To Stay Ahead Of Potential Department Of Labor Wage And Hour Audit
The U. S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) continues to step up its audits and investigations, both DOL-initiated and employee-complaint-triggered. This coming year may see records numbers of audits. 

What Should An Employer Do to Keep Its House in Order?

These are wise steps an employer should follow to prepare for the possibility of a DOL Wage and Hour Division (WHD) audit or inspection:

Before you ever receive the dreaded letter notifying you that are the subject of a WHD inspection or audit, you should design an in-house system to review on a regular basis how wage and hour issues are being handled. This should include:

     a. Reviewing your job descriptions to be sure positions you classify as exempt include tasks that truly make them exempt under DOL regulations and that the descriptions match the work actually being done. This may require you to interview exempt employees to be sure what they really are doing matches up with exempt job descriptions.

     b. Reviewing how time is reported for non-exempt employees, to be sure employees’ hours are being tracked correctly, including compensable travel time, training time, short breaks or lunch breaks that are interrupted by work, uniform changing time, and such, and that they are paid for overtime as they should be. 

     c. Making sure you are up-to-date on new minimum wage laws in many states. 

     d. Reviewing policies for docking of pay for exempt employees to be sure you are not violating DOL regulations which could cause you to lose the exemption.

     e. Implementing a system for employees to report concerns they have about their hours and pay so you investigate and correct any mistakes that otherwise might trigger complaints to the WHD.

     f. Consider contacting an employment attorney to confirm that your wage and hour policies and practices are current and legal and to perform a wage and hour self-audit to review and correct improper handling of wage and hour issues. This self-audit would be protected from disclosure by attorney-client privilege in the event of a WHD audit or investigation.

If you do these things, you might avoid a devastating financial result from a WHD audit or investigation, or even better, avoid the audit or investigation entirely.

To learn more about Adair Buckner and her practice visit her profile page and her Labor & Employment Law page.

Adair M. Buckner, Attorney at Law, is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Her other areas of practice include business law, business disputes, commercial litigation, estate planning, and probate. You can reach Adair at (806)-220-0150 or adair@adairbuckner.com. This material is not intended to be legal advice. The contents are intended for general information purposes only.

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