April 2006

Beware of the wage and hour investigator

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by Philip J. Siegel
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It's business as usual on an otherwise mundane Tuesday afternoon at your office, and you are reviewing your job production schedules. Suddenly, your receptionist tells you a woman in the lobby wants to see you. You greet your visitor, and after a simple "hello," you are presented with a badge from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). You just have been introduced to a U.S. wage and hour investigator. Do you know what to do?

The law

Federal wage and hour laws are enforced by DOL's Wage and Hour Division pursuant to the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). With regulations governing the payment of overtime wages, more companies are finding themselves the subjects of wage and hour audits. The construction industry has been a specific area of concern for the Wage and Hour Division.

Your company may be the subject of a wage and hour audit because of a complaint received by DOL from an employee, union or competitor or you were chosen randomly for a routine audit in a particular area. But the law protects the Wage and Hour Division from having to disclose why you are being audited, and you may not receive any warning that you are the subject of a wage and hour audit before the...

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