Wage and hour disputes have become the most common source of substantial, employment-related liability facing employers today. The number of class and collective actions has soared due to plaintiff-friendly laws, mounting government enforcement efforts and the increasing amount of information available to employees. Virtually all aspects of employee compensation have become the target of collective and individual actions in both state and federal courts. Ongoing changes in federal regulations and expanding state regulations add to the compliance challenges facing employers. Only well-informed, well-prepared and well-represented employers can effectively meet what are otherwise burdensome disruptions in time, budgets and employee relations arising from wage and hour litigation and compliance challenges.
Littler’s nationwide Wage and Hour Practice Group of more than 300 attorneys has the experience and resources to help ensure that an employer is well-informed, well-prepared and well-represented. Littler’s attorneys respond quickly when a lawsuit is filed or a federal or state investigation commences. The Practice Group’s attorneys have extensive experience in defending every type of wage and hour claim, ranging from employee misclassification, unpaid overtime, off-the-clock work, and missed meal and rest period issues, to improper deductions from paychecks and pay stub issues, to name just a few, and offer cutting edge strategies to help limit the employer’s exposure and litigation costs.
The Wage and Hour Practice Group’s experience and resources provide employers with the assistance needed to help ensure compliance before litigation commences. The Practice Group’s attorneys help employers recognize and address potential violations that could result in penalties or costly litigation. By providing employers with proactive advice and recommendations, Littler’s Wage and Hour Practice Group attorneys offer employers the tools they need to comply with applicable wage and hour laws and regulations, as well as the knowledge required to resolve wage and hour disputes informally as they arise in the workplace.
Littler’s Wage and Hour Practice Group has developed innovative strategies that have proven consistently effective in preventing and limiting exposure for our clients. We know that the best defenses to wage claims are created prior to the filing of a complaint. We provide our clients with comprehensive compliance solutions designed to identify and resolve issues before involvement of plaintiffs’ lawyers or government agencies, so that clients can retain maximum flexibility to resolve issues without disruption to business operations. If litigation is inevitable, our team of litigators provides years of successful experience combating claims, including class certification and defending on the merits.
Wage and Hour Audits
Our Wage and Hour Practice Group has established processes to help ensure that our clients receive comprehensive yet practical work product, including legal opinions that will support available good faith defenses in litigation. We are able to identify wage and hour compliance issues, including misclassification, off-the-clock work and incorrect regular rate calculations to help minimize a client’s exposure. We conduct wage and hour audits, both comprehensive and focused, for local, regional and national employers. We conduct audits in every industry, including manufacturing, construction, energy, financial services, hospitality, health care, insurance, restaurant, retail, transportation, technology, and telecommunications.
Littler is well positioned to conduct wage and hour audits in an efficient and timely manner due to our proprietary and innovative audit technology. Littler has developed a customizable web-based tool, Audit Quarterback, to help Littler attorneys manage audits. Audit QB is a password-protected application that combines analytic tools with project management, document management and electronic questionnaire functionality. Through Audit QB, Littler attorneys and clients have joint and immediate access to a custom-designed, secure, audit portal housing all information and documents relevant to the audit—including status reports, budget tracking, and an automatically generated privilege log. Our audit process is designed to help our clients stay in compliance in the face of the United States Department of Labor’s renewed emphasis on enforcement.
The most challenging aspect of any audit is not identifying legal issues; it is creating solutions. Our attorneys also have substantial experience in fashioning creative, cost-efficient, and practical remedies to legal and personnel issues uncovered during an audit. Our attorneys routinely assist clients with implementing audit results, including reclassifying or restructuring jobs, payment of back wages, and developing communication plans.
Wage and Hour Compliance
In addition to conducting audits, our Wage and Hour Practice Group attorneys also assist clients in developing comprehensive compliance programs that include:
- Establishing compliant payroll systems and pay practices
- Preparing compliant pay policies and incentive pay plans
- Developing internal complaint and investigation processes
- Implementing computer-based training for non-exempt employees and their immediate supervisors
Littler’s Wage and Hour Practice Group has developed and maintains one of the most extensive compliance resources for employers. These include an interactive site - Littler GPS® – which provides continuous access to 50 state surveys of federal and state statutes and regulations on the most important wage and hour topics, and updated on an ongoing basis. In addition the site provides access to all newly enacted legislation, and helps employers keep ahead of compliance challenges by providing a weekly email detailing newly enacted legislation. Littler GPS enables employers to quickly focus on topics of interest and review the applicable law in the jurisdictions of choice.
In addition, we publish the Wage and Hour Answer Book, which provides answers to the hundreds of questions employers are most likely to ask regarding the federal wage and hour laws.
Littler Xmpt is an innovative process developed by experienced wage and hour lawyers to enable employers to effectively prepare for and deal with misclassification claims. Littler Xmpt™ equips management with an effective defense and creates a strong evidentiary record to either defeat an exemption challenge or mitigate the risks.
Littler Xmpt provides several valuable services to our clients, including the following:
- Building a strong evidentiary record to defend against misclassification claims both prior to and during litigation
- Fortifying internal record-keeping policies
- Strengthening good faith defenses under federal law
Littler’s team of wage and hour lawyers has a wealth of experience in assisting employers with misclassification
claims, enabling us to anticipate those positions that are the most vulnerable to litigation and to equip employers with the best strategy to fend off legal action.
Finally, the Practice Group’s Wage and Hour Counsel blog, ASAPs and Insights, which are available by email subscription, provide timely articles and alerts to keep clients informed of the many changes that are constantly occurring in this important area of law.
Littler’s litigation team provides aggressive representation in wage and hour disputes and counsels employers on reducing future litigation risks. Our team of experienced wage and hour litigators focuses primarily on Fair Labor Standards Act collective actions and state-law-based wage and hour class actions. We have successfully defended employers in the full range of wage disputes, including claims for alleged misclassification of exempt employees, off-the-clock work, meal and rest period violations, vacation plan violations, and travel and commuting time violations. We have represented employers in an array of industries, including retail, restaurant, health care, manufacturing, trucking and construction. Our attorneys have practical knowledge of the everyday work realities of these different industries, the effect those realities have on wage payment issues, and the unique sources of proof of compliance available in each industry.
The Wage and Hour Practice Group’s attorneys represent clients in investigations by the United States Department of Labor and state labor departments on an ongoing basis. Due to our substantial experience working with both federal and state labor officials, our attorneys are well positioned to counsel clients on what to expect during an investigation and which approach will be most effective to obtain a favorable resolution.