Week In Review

July 05, 2016

DOL Increases Civil Penalties for FLSA and FMLA Violations

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued an interim final rule to adjust the amounts of civil penalties assessed or enforced under its regulations. The increased penalties are effective August 1, 2016. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA or Act) and accompanying regulations provide for assessment of civil money penalties for any person who repeatedly or willfully violates the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Act. The maximum penalty for a repeated or willful violation is increasing from $1,100 to $1,894 per violation. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and accompanying regulations provide for assessment of a civil money penalty for each willful violation of the posting requirement. The maximum penalty amount is increased from $110 to $163 per violation.

OSHA Rule May Require Employers to Revise Drug Testing Policies

Effective August 10, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA or Agency) will require employers to establish "a reasonable procedure" for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately. Under this new reporting standard, employer policies that request or require post- accident drug or alcohol testing will now face scrutiny by OSHA because, the Agency claims, post-incident testing deters injury reporting. Employers with post-incident or accident drug testing policies will be put to the task of justifying each decision to test based on the facts of each workplace incident or accident. OSHA will not find fault with an employer which conducts drug testing to comply with the requirements of a federal or state law or regulation, because its motive in conducting testing is not retaliatory. If OSHA finds that an employer drug testing policy deters the reporting of injuries and illnesses by employees, it may issue steep penalties. Penalties up to $12,741 per violation may be imposed or, for willful violations, up to $124,712.