Just before 2017 drew to a close, HR Dive conducted a reader poll, one particular result of which might surprise some of you. Turns out more than half of the respondents said that their top compliance concern for 2018 were state and local laws and not, as most believe, issues around family and medical leave, EEO-1 reporting or joint employer liability.
When I read this, I thought how interesting given that just recently my colleague, Mike Van Doren, wrote about the many ways workforce management solutions are underused as tools for ensuring compliance, particularly where it applies to assisting organizations address employee issues such as overtime notifications, certifications and whether employees possess the correct and relevant competency that complies with local/state or federal regulations, fatigue management and missed meals. All of which are issues that can and do vary from state to state and even within a state.
Recent news headlines demonstrate that this concern is justified. There are many examples of lawsuits and settlements for legislative compliance violations, particularly for FLSA breaches. Only recently I read about a large settlement- just under $4m- paid out by a health care provider who had been sued by a number of employees alleging that the organization had automatically deducted meal breaks whether they were taken or not. This had the direct result of large numbers of employees being underpaid.
Whether it is over unpaid overtime, missed meals, off the clock work, “on-call” payments, unpaid work or a variety of other violations, lawsuits are costly for organizations. The monetary settlements alone when a company is found guilty of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violation are high and typically cover legal costs for the plaintive and may also involve punitive fines and damages.
Beyond the financial loss, organizations risk damaging their corporate credibility when not complying with FLSA requirements. Typically most of these lawsuits are highly publicized and attract a lot of unwanted media attention, additionally they can cause problems with recruiting and retaining top talent. Employees do not want to work for an organization that whether intentionally or unintentionally does not accurately pay them for their time worked. Employees may fear retributions by not reporting inaccuracies that they uncover and simply will leave the organization rather than draw attention to the problem.
It is incumbent upon each employer to ensure compliance to FLSA and the myriad of local, state, federal and even international legislative, regulatory and union/contract requirements. To find out the minimum meal period length required in your state, check here.
Organizations are not in it alone. A robust and integrated Workforce Management solution can assist in this pursuit, can provide payroll with the accurate time that an employee has worked and ensure that employees are accurately paid.
Find out how SumTotal’s Workforce Management can help your organization ensure compliance with FLSA and other legislative requirements.