When an auditor from the Department of Labor (DOL) shows up to investigate an alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), business owners often do not know what to do. Remember this: You are not required to let a DOL investigator in.
Protecting Your Interests Is Not A Sign Of Guilt
DOL investigators may try to convince you to let them in. They may say that denying them entry is a sign of guilt or that it is getting the investigation off to a bad start. They may pretend that they are your friend and act like they are just trying to clear up a misunderstanding. The truth is that you have a lot on the line here, and you have the right to make certain everything is handled correctly and your interests are protected.
Thousands Or Even Millions Of Dollars In Penalties
Depending on the nature and extent of the alleged FLSA violation, there could be thousands or even millions of dollars in civil penalties on the line. That is why it is so critical to request that an attorney be present for the FLSA audit.
You may think that you do not need a lawyer because you have done everything by the book, but how certain are you? Many FLSA violations are unintentional, committed by well-meaning employers who simply were unaware of a requirement. Furthermore, what if all of the necessary documentation is not where it should be or is out of order? What if you cannot show the investigator everything they ask for? Having a lawyer on your side is not about hiding something; it is about protecting your interests.
An experienced lawyer can make certain that everything the investigator does is by the book and that your rights as a business owner are not violated in the process. If the investigator finds an issue, your lawyer can work with the investigator to resolve the matter on the spot. If the issue cannot be resolved on the spot, your lawyer can get started immediately building a legal strategy to prevent or minimize civil penalties.
Do not let DOL auditors push you around. Do not succumb to costly penalties just so investigators can meet a quota. Do not let them in the door of your business until you have a skilled attorney present.