Changes in FLSA overtime regulations raise litigation risks for employers, legal experts say

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by Eric Pearson

New FLSA overtime regulations set to go into effect in December 2016 are being called “the most significant change to the economy in a decade.”  Under the new rules, about 4.2 million workers will qualify for overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The new regulations may also affect about 8.9 million workers who are currently being misclassified as FLSA exempt.

The changes to FLSA overtime rules came about as a result of a Department of Labor ruling in May 2016. Under the ruling, the threshold for overtime exemption was raised from $23,660 to $47,467. This means that any workers earning less than $47,467 per year who work more than 40 hours in a week will qualify for overtime compensation under the FLSA. The Department of Labor says that the threshold for overtime compensation will be raised every three years following the increase later this year.

Experts in employment law say that the short window before the new overtime rules go into effect may leave some businesses vulnerable to FLSA lawsuits filed by workers who allege that they were denied fair overtime compensation. FLSA lawsuits have risen steadily in recent years, with a record 8,781 such cases filed in 2015. Legal experts have predicted that the number of FLSA lawsuit for wage and hour violations will increase again in 2016.

Most FLSA lawsuits are filed as class action cases on behalf of a group of plaintiffs who suffered similar violations of federal rules regarding overtime compensation or other employment regulations. Actions by federal regulators to aggressively enforce wage and hour laws, combined with an increase in the number of lawsuits filed by plaintiffs’ attorneys, has also contributed to the increase in the number of FLSA lawsuits filed. In addition to the numerous smaller lawsuits filed against individual employers under the FLSA, several larger cases have also been filed by the Department of Labor.

Legal experts involved in FLSA litigation say that they expect the number of lawsuits filed over alleged violations of federal labor laws to continue to rise in upcoming years. These experts also say that employers should be vigilant about monitoring how their employees are paid, work to foster a culture of compliance with federal labor laws, and ensure that managers are properly trained regarding common wage and hour violations in order to limit their risk of FLSA litigation.

FLSA Overtime Lawsuits Filed by Workers over Wage and Hour Violations

Thousands of individual FLSA lawsuits and class action cases are filed every year by workers alleging they were not properly compensated for their work. Employees who have been wrongfully classified as FLSA exempt or as independent contractors by their employers may qualify to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for unpaid overtime, tips, wages, and other costs under FLSA. The first step in filing an FLSA lawsuit is to talk with a law firm with the experience and training to advise you of your legal rights.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have filed class action lawsuits nationwide on behalf of workers and other individuals who were harmed by the wrongful conduct of businesses or corporations. Our firm has handled class actions lawsuits or multi-district litigation cases (MDLs) involving commercial and other legal matters in Texas, California, and other jurisdictions across the U.S.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson has the legal experience to guide our clients through class action cases, MDLs, and other complex litigation from beginning to end. Our law firm also has the financial resources to stand toe-to-toe with some of the biggest corporations in the world on behalf of our clients regardless of the length or complexity of the litigation process. In many instances, Heygood, Orr & Pearson has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a case in order to take it to trial. Our attorneys are committed to achieving justice for our clients, whatever the cost.

For a free legal consultation and to find out whether you may qualify to file a lawsuit regarding FLSA or other federal labor violations, contact us the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to the free consultation form and answering a few simple questions to get started.