HR Managers Can Help Stem the Tide of Huge Damages
According to a January report from the large national employment law firm, Seyfarth-Shaw*, the value of class-based employment-related litigation and enforcement actions reached an all-time high in 2015. This does not include all those actions that are not class-action type lawsuits or enforcement proceedings. It reported that the top 10 settlements totaled $2.48 billion in 2015, an increase from $1.87 billion in 2014. This report also stated that federal and state courts allowed more class certification rulings for plaintiffs in employment-related cases in 2015 than ever before. As a result, employers are facing large numbers of employees claims in more and more lawsuits or enforcement actions-not just the claims of one employee. Finally, the report states DOL and the EEOC obtained a total of $82.8 million in settlements during 2015. This was back up substantially from an eight-year low of $39.45 million during 2014.
Class-Certified Lawsuits Increase
Record Number of FLSA Cases
New Threats to Come
These trends are not likely to change in the near future. The wage and hour litigation probably will grow even more because of challenges to independent contractor status by governmental agencies and the plaintiffs bar. In addition, if employers fail to stay up to date and be prepared for the DOLs new overtime pay regulations, due mid- 2016, they can face increased litigation over improperly exempting employees from overtime pay.
Increasing Importance of HR Function
These statistics should help you justify your worth to your boss as an HR Manager. They highlight the importance of what you do to try to protect the employer from becoming the target of one of the many high-risk enforcement proceedings or lawsuits that abound today. In the alternative, they remind you of how important your job is and these numbers will keep you awake at night worrying!
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