Violations of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by Texas employers are common. However, these are rarely intentional violations. Employers do not often knowingly break the law. They break the law because they are unaware of what they are required to do. Their biggest mistake is simply not taking the time to examine their policies and procedures to make sure they are aligned with the current law.
Employers: Here are five of the most common ways that you may be violating the FLSA:
Are You Paying Your Employees Minimum Wage?
Considering that the $7.25 minimum wage in Texas has not gone up in many years, it might seem like this would be an easy law to follow. However, violations do happen. There are many tricky areas. For example, one possible reason for a violation is confusion over what constitutes a tipped employee.
Are You Paying Your Employees Overtime?
This catches many employers off guard. They think they are doing the right thing by paying employees a fair salary, only to be hit with an unpaid overtime claim because the salaried employee should have been an hourly employee who was eligible for overtime pay, or perhaps the salaried employee should have gotten overtime in addition to the salary. Furthermore, there may be confusion about what constitutes overtime.
Are You Classifying Nonexempt Employees As Exempt?
Many employers believe that exempt status is based on job title. In actuality, it is based on job duties. In other words, simply calling an employee a supervisor is not sufficient to make that employee exempt. The employee must be performing supervisory work that falls under the definition of exempt. This is a very nuanced and complex issue.
Are You Paying Employees For Donning And Doffing?
Putting on uniforms and safety equipment takes time and is a critical part of the day in many workplaces. It is also a step that employees are typically required to be paid for. This is something that many employers overlook.
Are You Managing Tips And Tip Pools Correctly?
A common source of problems for employers is confusion over the handling of tip credits and tip sharing. For example, an employer may collect tips and share them with staff members who do not regularly and customarily receive tips, such as cooks. This is in violation of the law. The rules regarding tips and tipped employees are complex, so employers must be diligent to follow them correctly.
An Ounce Of Prevention
Considering how much a claim can cost, it is worthwhile for employers to consider enlisting an experienced attorney to review payroll policies to ensure that everything is aligned with current laws. An attorney skilled in representing employers can conduct a thorough review of employment practices that may not only prevent litigation, but improve employee relations.