Record High Number of Wage and Hour Lawsuits

May 21, 2013

Federal wage and hour lawsuits have reached a record high, according to federal court data. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cases continue to skyrocket, despite indications that filings had moderated during the past twelve months.

There were 7,764 FLSA cases filed in the fiscal year ending in March 2013, up 10 percent from fiscal year 2012, which saw 7,064 cases filed. By comparison, there were 4,055 cases filed ten years ago in 2003 and only 1,854 cases filed in 2000. The claims forming the bulk of these current numbers include misclassification of employees, off-the-clock work, and miscalculation of overtime pay for nonexempt workers.

There are several factors that are likely contributing to the recent jump in wage and hour lawsuits. Notably, both exempt and nonexempt employees have faced increased work demands due to the economic situation, causing them to question their employer's pay practices. Additionally, wage-hour claims are more attractive for plaintiffs' attorneys, given the large settlements obtained in past cases. Finally, employees have become more aware of wage and hour issues, in part due to social media.

Employers should be proactive to minimize their risk of wage and hour violations. It behooves all employers to conduct an annual wage and hour compliance audit. SESCO was founded in 1945 by a Wage-Hour investigator and as such, our history is deeply rooted in wage and hour compliance. Contact SESCO by calling 423-764-4127 or email: sesco@sescomgt.com if you wish to schedule an audit.