Authored by Alex Passantino

In a post today on the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog, WHD Administrator, Dr. David Weil, announced that WHD recovered more than $240 million in back wages for more than 270,000 workers in FY2014. This recovery was slightly down from FY2013’s $249 million. Since 2009, WHD has recovered more than $1.3 billion as a result of its enforcement efforts.

Notably, 43% of WHD’s investigations were targeted or “directed” investigations (as opposed to complaint-based), which is up from years past. In those investigations, WHD investigators found violations 78% of the time.

Dr. Weil’s post references the Division’s strategic enforcement efforts, as well as its fissured industry initiative. As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, the fissured industry initiative is focused on those industries more likely to use independent contractors, subcontractors, franchise relationships, and employment agencies, such as hotel, restaurant, construction, janitorial services, and staffing.

Employers in these industries should take some time and consider whether their payment practices comply with the FLSA and other wage and hour laws. Are your exempt employees properly classified? Are bonuses and other incentive payments being included in the regular rate? Are you capturing all hours worked?

Conducting an audit of these practices before WHD shows up at your door can help keep you out of next year’s enforcement numbers. As Dr. Weil’s post makes clear, enforcement is the fissured industries will continue, and less than a quarter of the time do employer make it out unscathed.