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What are the 3 most common FLSA violations?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2024 | Employment Law

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the rules that employers must follow when it comes to wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping and more – but employers don’t always play by the rules.

A recent report by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division revealed that errant employers ended up paying more than $164 million for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 2023 alone. According to the report, the three most common reasons employers are required to pay up include:

1. Overtime violations

This was the top of the list, accounting for roughly 106,759 different claims – and those are just the employers who got caught. Many of those violations were related to employee misclassification, intentional or not, where an employer incorrectly classified an employee as an independent contractor, thereby depriving them of overtime, health insurance, workers’ compensation rights and other important benefits.

2. Minimum wage violations

Roughly 31,150 workers had to fight to recover the bare minimum wages they were due – because some employers simply do not want to pay their workers fairly. 

Some employers will hire desperate workers “under the table” to avoid paying minimum wage, and others will require their employees to work off the clock before or after their shifts without compensation, reducing their overall hourly pay to below the federal or local minimums. Making improper deductions from wages for uniforms, tools or cash register shortages can also reduce an employee’s wages to below the applicable minimum.

3. Unpaid tips

Next on the list comes unpaid tips. Failing to pay the correct minimum wage for tipped employees and improper handling of “tip pooling” arrangements are likely a big part of the problem, but so are situations where an employer illegally takes the tips that their employees earn.

If you believe (or know) that you’ve been victimized by your employer, you can assert your rights under the FLSA. Legal guidance can make it easier.