The FLSA establishes standards for minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor. These standards affect more than 130 million workers, both full-time and part-time, in the private and public sectors.
The Wage and Hour Division’s enforcement of the FLSA is carried out by investigators stationed across the country. The investigators, as Wage and Hour Division authorized representatives, conduct investigations and gather data on wages, hours worked, and other employment conditions in order to determine compliance with the law by employers throughout the country. If, during the course of an investigation violations are found, the investigators will recommend changes in employment practices to bring an employer into compliance.
Along with recommendations to bring the employer back into compliance, the FLSA allows the Department of Labor, or an employee, to recover back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages where a violation of minimum wage and overtime payment is found. It is important to note however, that a two (2) year statute of limitations applies to the recovery of back wages and liquidated damages, while a three (3) year statute of limitations applies in cases involving willful violations by employers. Remedies may be recovered through administrative procedures, litigation, and/or criminal prosecution.
If an administrative proceeding is commenced by the Department of Labor, the Department of Labor may seek back wages and liquidated damages through a hearing or settlements with the employer. Any civil money penalties may be assessed only for repeat violations of minimum wage and overtime payments, or for violations of the child labor laws. For violations of the child labor laws under the FLSA, penalties may be increased for each violation that results in the death or serious injury of an employee who is a minor, and may be doubled if the violation is determined to be willful or repeated.
If the Department of Labor files suit on behalf of employees, the Department may seek back wages, an equal amount in liquidated damages, and a civil money penalty, where appropriate. Further, the Department of Labor may seek a U.S. District Court injunction to restrain violations of the law, including the unlawful withholding of proper minimum wage and overtime pay, failure to keep proper records, and retaliation against employees who file complaints and/or cooperate with the Department. The Department of Labor may also seek an order for payment of civil money penalties from a U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge.
If an employee files a private suit under the FLSA, the employee is entitled to recover back wages, an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs. In such a case, the Department of Labor will not seek the same back wages and liquidated damages on that employee’s behalf.
Enforcement of The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph C. Maya, Esq.
Joseph C. Maya is the Managing Partner at Maya Murphy, P.C., and handles cases involving these legal issues in New York and Connecticut.
Copyright Maya Murphy, P.C.
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.