Wage and hour compliance issues remain one of the potentially most dangerous areas for employers. Most of the attention has been focused on collective actions brought by a new generation of plaintiffs’ lawyers who frequently focus on only those types of claims.
However, this press release last week from the Department of Labor, Grandville, Mich., restaurant operators ordered to pay more than $2 million in back wages and damages is a sobering reminder that there is a newly invigorated government agency that is conducting investigations and seeking back wages and penalties on behalf of employees.
The restaurants in question were 5 Chinese restaurants operated by a husband and wife team. It will take a lot of kung pao chicken to cover that fine.
Earlier this fall, the ABA Journal reported that the DOL had hired 250 new investigators for the Wage and Hour Division. Feds to Ramp Up Enforcement of ‘Rampant’ Wage-and-Hour Violations. And all of this activity is occurring without a permanent head of the group as President Obama’s nominee for Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Lorelei Boylan withdrew her nomination last month. Lorelei Boylan Withdraws her Nomination for Wage and Hour Administrator.
While this may sound like a broken record (for those of you who still understand that reference), there’s no likelihood that this problem is going away any time soon.