While many employers are getting ready for the massive overtime pay reform law which is set to go into effect in early December, others are likely on the lookout for methods to circumvent the rule due to concerns over drastically higher payroll costs. If a recently released study on wage and hour lawsuits is any indicator, however, employers should be taking this new legislation far more seriously.
The research, conducted by time management software provider TSheets, reveals that wage and hour lawsuits have increased drastically by 450% during the past 20 years, with 8,781 wage violations being filed in 2015. In contrast, only 1,580 suits were filed in 1995. The study also revealed that roughly three out of every four lawsuits initiated by the United States Department of Labor resulted in monetary compensation for employees.
In order, the industries with the greatest numbers of wage and hour suits were as follows:
- Food services
- Health care
- Social services
“Enhanced” Fitness Certifications Causing Issues
Additionally, the study also brought attention to a growing issue of sick leave. While most issues involve employees being prevented from taking time off to recover from an injury or illness, others involve employers refusing to allow workers to return to their jobs after Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave unless they provide an “enhanced” fitness for duty certification from a doctor. These certifications require a physician to conduce a far more involved assessment of an employee’s ability to work.
While requiring these certifications is legal, they must be applied uniformly for all employees or at least to all workers in certain job classifications. Certifications of this kind may not be used randomly or in an otherwise arbitrary manner. For more information on this story, click here.
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