What is the antidote to a bet-the-company lawsuit over an unforeseen allegation of violation? Self-Audits Go a Long Way to Insulate You From Unanticipated Pitfalls. State and federal wage-hour laws and regulations are so complicated that it is increasingly difficult for employers to identify their obligations and methods of compliance. Two questions we often hear from employers are "What does the law require?" and "How do I comply with the laws' requirements?" Without an experienced guide, even good faith efforts to "do the right thing" may have negative consequences. Damages owed for violations of wage-hour laws can quickly become astounding. It is highly beneficial to limit potential liability by identifying problem areas and correcting them before your organization is sued or visited by the Department of Labor. In wage-hour defense, an ounce of prevention is well worth many pounds of cure. We recommend that our business clients, large and small, review their wage-hour policies and practices to ensure that they are squarely in compliance with state and federal law. Specifically, Lipman & Plesur, LLP will review payroll records and meet with members of management to identify potential violations of federal and state wage-hour laws. The firm will also identify areas where overtime pay calculations exceed the legal requirements. Where indicated, we will recommend steps to strengthen your continuing compliance. Wage-Hour Litigation We have tremendous experience defending employers in wage-hour litigation. If there is no way to prevail in court, we will tell you and try to resolve the matter quickly, efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. If there are defenses, we will fight for you. An initial game plan is the key to defending wage-hour cases. We can help you develop a good initial strategy, and carry out the plan on your behalf. Department of Labor Audits Lipman & Plesur, LLP also represents employers who are visited by the U.S. Department of Labor and the New York Department of Labor. These agencies have become much more aggressive in recent years. Since 1990, our firm has handled hundreds of wage-hour audits. If you don't put your best foot forward early on and clearly state the facts and legal defenses, you may be stuck in a lawsuit against the United States or forced into the twilight zone of the New York Industrial Board of Appeals. To avoid taking a potentially costly misstep, consult a wage-hour lawyer as soon as a Department of Labor investigator knocks on your door. Prevailing Wages If your organization has any public contracts, you need to make sure you avoid prevailing wage violations. A small violation can quickly add up to many tens of thousands of dollars and put you on a road to debarment. Figuring out your prevailing wage obligations can be a daunting task. Lipman & Plesur, LLP has helped many employers calculate their obligations and defend their prevailing wage-related actions. The Top Ten Reasons For Overtime Pay Lawsuits Under The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Employees work "off-the-clock." Employees put in extra time before or after scheduled shifts tending to their duties or attend meetings without being paid for that time. Employees work "on-the-clock," but are not paid for all of their work time. This often occurs where work time is unlawfully rounded to conform to the scheduled shift. The law requires every hour actually worked to be recorded and paid. Workers are misclassified as exempt from overtime pay requirements. Employees are not paid for breaks lasting 20 minutes or less. Employees work through lunch without pay. Employees entitled to overtime pay are misclassified as independent contractors and denied overtime pay. Shift differentials, commissions, bonus payments and other payments are not correctly included in overtime pay calculations. "Volunteers" and "interns" are not paid as required by law. Employees are not compensated for required training time. Employees can file a collective action under the FLSA or a class action under state law.