Litigation is an inevitable part of business, but how much so depends in part on how proactive you are in preventing cause for lawsuits. One of the highest sources of claims is employees, and an increasingly growing reason for suing is over wage and hour violations.
This cost businesses over $270 million in 2017, reports the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Paying back wages is costlier than paying employees deserved wages, so avoid getting into this situation by taking the following preventive measures.
Understand the law
Most wage and hour claims are for employees not receiving overtime pay. This can happen due to ignorance of California overtime law, including the proper classification of employees. Other violations involve meal breaks and off-the-clock work. An attorney can help you ensure you are complying with state regulations and can revise your policies and procedures handbook to address implementation of the law in your workplace.
Adhere strictly to the law
Running a successful business with limited settlements and court battles requires strict adherence to the law. It may be convenient in the moment to not worry about lunch breaks on a busy day, to think just one hour of overtime does not warrant the pay or to forget about tracking edits of time records. However, in the long run it will only cause you more trouble and money defending against claims. It is wiser to follow the law exactly.
Keep accurate records
Your best defense is in the records that you keep of shift schedules, pay rates, dates of raises and promotions, payments, time off (including sick days and vacations) and anything else relevant to the calculation of hours and wages. You can use your well-kept records as evidence in your favor in the event of an allegation. Consider going through an internal audit to ensure your methods are accurate, efficient and thorough.