In prosecution of wage and hour violations, the stakes are getting personal. In several recent cases, the government has penalized company owners and officers for failing to pay overtime – imposing stiff fines and even imprisonment.
In one case, the president of a Minnesota sheetrock company was sentenced to two years in jail and a potential fine of $3.3 million for intentionally underpaying employee overtime and union pension and benefit contributions.
In another recent case, the owners and officers of an Illinois security company were fined over $200,000, constituting back wages and liquidated damages, for violating overtime and record keeping provisions.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), "any employer" who violates minimum wage or unpaid overtime compensation laws may be liable for both the shortfall and liquidated damages, which means double the damages. The FLSA definition of "employer" can be very broad. Along with supervisors and high-ranking executives, it can also include officers and directors.
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Richard D. Alaniz is senior partner at Alaniz and Schraeder, a national labor and employment firm based in Houston. He has been at the forefront of labor and employment law for over thirty years, including stints with the US Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board. Rick is a prolific writer on labor and employment law and...