Employers often grapple with crucial questions about compensation, employee classification, and policy structure.
Getting these answers wrong can lead to hefty consequences. But, there’s a potential way to avoid doubling your trouble. Take the case of East Penn Manufacturing Co., where employees wore protective clothing. The time spent taking off and putting on protective clothing—formally known as donning and doffing—became a legal battleground.
East Penn found itself facing a federal Department of Labor lawsuit, resulting in a hefty back wages bill under a federal law known as the Fair Labor Standards Act. Among other things, the DOL sought to double the penalty with liquidated damages, claiming East Penn had not acted in good faith with respect to its employees.
However, the judge in this matter rejected the DOL’s request. Why? Whenever questions arose, East Penn consulted its attorney and adjusted its policies accordingly. This, the court said, showed that—at all times—the Company acted in good faith with respect to its employment obligations. As such, no additional penalties were warranted.
So, the lesson learned is this: Don’t keep your head in the sand and hope that ignorance will excuse you. It won’t. Rather, consult with experienced wage and hour counsel, who can advise you– and, if need be, can vouch for your good faith efforts to comply with the law.
For more information on wage and hour laws and how to ensure your business is compliant with state and federal laws, please contact us at email@example.com.
This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.