As we've mentioned here before, there has been proliferation of FLSA wage cases filed in the last few years, particularly in the Florida district courts. In fact, the volume of FLSA claims has nearly tripled in the past 10 years. According to updated federal statistics, over 5,500 FLSA lawsuits were filed nationwide between March 2008 and March 2009, marking a 7.5% increase over the previous period, and representing the second-highest total on record.
I bring up these staggering statistics because the FLSA affects everyone. Unlike some of the other employment laws that only apply to employers with 15+ employees (Title VII, ADA), or 20+ employees (ADEA), or 50+ employees (FMLA), and so on, the FLSA applies to employers who have just one employee. Everyone!
It is imperative that employers take care to ensure they are in compliance with all parts of the FLSA. Review employee classifications closely -- make sure you are only exempting employees who truly fit into one of the exempt classifications. Check into your policies regarding on-the-clock and off-the-clock time, and make sure you are properly applying the rules on compensable time. Set up complaint procedures and investigation guidelines. Put a "Salary Basis Policy" in your employee handbook if you do not already have one.
While these actions are neither exhaustive nor a complete defense to liability, taking each and every proactive approach to limit liabiity is a wise move these days. Do it now, before your company becomes a statistic.