I’ve written before about the risk of individual liability under the labor laws. In a nutshell, if you’re a corporate officer, there’s a chance you could be found individually responsible for wage and hour violations of the company.
Well, turns out that having to pay a fine and ante up some back wages might not be the worst thing that could happen to you in that situation.
You might also find yourself behind bars.
Doin’ the Jailhouse Rock
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, High Performance Ropes of America (a Texas-based company that makes heavy duty wire rope used in construction, mining, oil and gas, bridge suspension and ski lifts) underpaid their workers. As a result of not one, but two investigations, they company was ordered to pay over $165,000 in back wages, $12,000 in civil penalties and an additional court-imposed fine of $10,000. And the company was found guilty of a felony — making false statements.
Perhaps more notable, though, was what happened to the company owner, plant manager and office manager.
Read the rest of It Isn’t Just the Fines You Have to Worry About
Monitoring and surveillance have been in the news a lot recently, particularly in relation to the National Security Agency’s call-tracking program. But there are many other forms of monitoring, some of which are actually good for business and productivity.
For instance, I recently came across this interesting study: Cleaning House: The Impact of Information Technology Monitoring on Employee Theft and Productivity, published by three academic researchers.*
Photo by Joshua Davis
The paper reports on the result of a study the researchers performed involving the use of surveillance software at nearly 400 “casual dining” restaurants all across the country. In this case, the software was intended to monitor for possible employee theft. For instance, a bartender might serve customers drinks without ringing them up. He can then pocket the money from the customers as a “tip.”
The researchers reported that after installing the software, theft was reduced at each restaurant by a modest average of a little over $100 per week. But — and here’s the really interesting part — revenue at the monitored restaurants increased by an average of nearly $3,000 a week!
It seems that once the workers knew they were being monitored, not only did it discourage those who might be inclined to thievery, it also encouraged all the employees to do a better job of promoting the restuarants’ food (and earning themselves a bigger tip based on the larger check total).
“What can I bring you for an appetizer?” “Would you like to have the salad bar along with that entree?” “Care for some dessert to top off your meal?”
So what, you may be asking, does this have to do with time and attendance?
Read the rest of Turns Out, Monitoring Really Does Improve Productivity
Great news! The government shutdown is over… and timeQplus software now helps small and mid-sized businesses meet the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements. (You know, the ACA… also know as “Obamacare.”)
Yep, we recently released a shiny new update to our popular timeQplus software with a whole bunch of spiffy new features. And one of the big ones is the new Average Hours Worked report, which we specifically designed to help our customers with their ACA reporting. Whew! At least that’s one worry off your plate now.
We also included a whole slew of other improvements you’re sure to like. For instance, the software now supports three levels of user permissions:
Just came across a terrific article covering come common misconceptions about the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) — misconceptions that might mean you’re paying your employees more than you have to.
Of course, as the authors note, the FLSA provides a floor, not a ceiling. For a variety of reasons, many employers choose to pay more than the minimum required by the law… perhaps in the interest of attracting and retaining better workers, or to reward top employees for their productivity, or simply to keep up with the labor market in their area.
What’s sad is when you come across an employer who incurs unnecessary costs simply because they have misunderstood the provisions of the FLSA.
So, what are these misconceptions?
Read the rest of Clearing Up A Few Misconceptions
From the North Carolina law firm of Ward and Smith, P.A. comes this important reminder: if you’re a corporate manager, officer or shareholder, don’t count on the “corporate veil” to protect you from personal liability if the company fails to pay employees properly.
Seriously. A lot of people seem to think as long as it’s “the corporation” that errs, the individuals who make up the corporation are protected.
However, as many supervisors, managers, corporate officers and directors have found to their chagrin, that belief is often dead wrong.
Read the rest of Are You at Risk? Individual Liability Under Wage & Hour Laws
In a new release dated 17-Sept-2013 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced they are extending minimum wage and overtime rules to cover many home care workers, effective 1-Jan-2015.
Since 1974, these home care workers have been placed in the same category as neighborhood baby-sitters, and have been considered exempt from minimum wage and overtime rules.
However, with the aging of the population and a move to keep seniors and the disabled at home rather than in nursing homes, more and more people are needing more skilled care. And unlike the next-door-neighbor teen who baby-sits, the vast majority of these workers are now employed by home care agencies in what has become an $84 billion industry.
According to the release:
This change will result in nearly two million direct care workers — such as home health aides, personal care aides and certified nursing assistants — receiving the same basic protections already provided to most U.S. workers. It will also help guarantee that those who rely on the assistance of direct care workers have access to consistent and high-quality care from a stable and increasingly professional workforce.
What Happens Next?
Well, first off, don’t panic. Remember, the rule doesn’t take effect until 2015, so those who are impacted have over 14 months to prepare.
Second, a couple of points of clarification may be helpful to determine whether you need to do anything at all:
Read the rest of FLSA Protections Extended to Grandma’s Home Care Aide (Maybe)
Apparently, some employers aren’t aware the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to all workers, regardless of their immigration status. The owner and manager of a Kansas City restaurant perhaps were among those who are not aware of this — or maybe they just thought they’d be able to get away with it?
In the case of Lucas v. Jerusalem Cafe, LLC, the employer was found guilty of violating the minimum wage and overtime rules for six undocumented workers. According to evidence entered during the trial, these employees worked as much as 77 hours a week, and received as little as $3.90 an hour, paid in cash, with no overtime.
Among other evidence, the workers produced photographs and a video of themselves at work in the restaurant and food handler cards issued by the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department. The owner claimed the photos and video actually depicted the workers “volunteering” and “posing for pictures,” and the food handler cards were only obtained so the workers could “volunteer” in the restaurant. He insisted the workers were volunteers, not employees, because he “never hired illegals.”
So what was the outcome?
Read the rest of The FLSA Applies to ALL Workers (Even Undocumented Workers)
You’ve probably heard a lot lately about “cloud computing.” It’s an interesting concept — applications running on a third-party server, which you access over a secure Internet connection. Have you considered cloud-based time and attendance? Maybe you should!
There are many advantages to using an online time clock:
Read the rest of Six Good Reasons to Move Your Workforce Management to the Cloud
It’s never fun when your business is sued. And it can be especially upsetting when you’re being sued by one (or more) of your own employees. Here are a few simple steps you can take to minimize your risk of winding up in court facing a claim for unpaid overtime.
Read the rest of Four Steps to Avoid Overtime Lawsuits
There are a lot of things to be said in favor of telecommuting. Well-managed telecommuting programs increase worker productivity and job satisfaction while reducing employer costs. (Fewer people in the office means you don’t use as much electricity, for instance.)
However, there are two important wage-and-hour risks that all employers who offer a telecommuting option should be aware of.
Read the rest of Two Telecommuting Risks You Can’t Afford to Ignore