Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do you know? Reliance on DOL opinions

Do you know that it is an absolute defense to a wage and hour claim that you relied on a written opinion of the Department of Labor in making your minimum wage or overtime payments? According to 29 U.S.C. 259:

[N]o employer shall be subject to any liability or punishment for or on account of the failure of the employer to pay minimum wages or overtime compensation if he pleads and proves that the act or omission complained of was in good faith in conformity with and in reliance on any written administrative regulation, order, ruling, approval, or interpretation, of the [Department of Labor].

The Department of Labor may not be the most friendly place for employers rights now (see Wage & Hour: Not Just Collective Actions Anymore), but its website is a wealth of wage and hour information for employers. It lists more than 200 formal opinion letters that provide a step-by-step guide on how to comply with the FLSA. And, if you rely on one of those letters in paying an employee, you have a defense to a minimum wage or overtime lawsuit.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com.