The number of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits reached a record high in 2015. The increased number of FLSA cases is attributed to heightened employee rights awareness, more worker-friendly restrictions, and publicity around related minimum wage and overtime issues.
Evidence of a record number of FLSA cases filed in 2015 outlines an 8 percent increase of alleged workplace violations under the federal FLSA over the past year. The cases included minimum wage, employee misclassification, and overtime pay violations.
According to reports of the Federal Judicial Center, 8,781 cases were filed in 2015 alleging Fair Labor Standards Act violations by employers. Experts in employment law predict an even greater increase to over 9,000 FLSA related cases for 2016. The past year has seen an overall increase in wage and hour claims against employers of various industries but with the greatest concentration in the hospitality and retail industries.
In addition, over the past 15 years, the number of FLSA cases has increased at a rate of about 450 percent. This may be due to a widespread agreement of pay inequalities, new and sometimes confusing regulations, and unclear requirements that lead to misclassifications. Employment law attorneys consider all of these factors key elements that contribute to the “perfect storm” between employees and employers.
One of the biggest issues of the year stems from the misclassification of employees for driving “gigs” who are considered independent contractors by Uber’s company policy. Many consider the issue of employee misclassification one that must be further addressed in the coming year due to unclear restrictions and regulations regarding the issue.
The Supreme Court previously ruled that most independent contractors were actually considered employees. Additional requirements for overtime exemption and the minimum salary to be considered exempt from overtime pay will be examined and determined at a later time in 2016.
The current minimum annual salary to qualify for overtime exemption rests at $23,660, but a final rule to be issued in July 2016 regarding the new “white collar” exemption raised this number to $50,440. Next year, the Department of Labor (DOL) will make a determination regarding this proposed new rule and will also take into consideration the nearly 300,000 comments that were received as a result of this newly proposed requirement for overtime exemption.
These concerns for compliance with FLSA restrictions create a need for businesses to review current practices and policies as well as implement systems that free them from the burdens of the misclassification of employees. One way employers that engage in independent contracts with workers can avoid repercussions from misclassification is by working with an experienced Independent Contractor Compliance and Engagement solutions provider. This method allows for quicker, safer, and more cost effective ways for employers to work with independent contractors.
Are you or someone you know the victim of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violation in the workplace? Then you may be entitled to damages accordingly.
You need a steadfast advocate for your employee rights to secure just practices in the workplace. Let the employment law attorneys at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P. A., handle your case, and contact us today.