Almost every week brings word of a new verdict, court decision or settlement involving wage and hour violations. Many employers just do not seem to understand the federal and state statutes and regulations on these subjects mean what they say. The fact that you have not been caught so far does not mean that your policies and practices would pass muster with the enforcement agencies.
This week’s news is a $2.5 million settlement of a class action against MJM, Inc., an insurance investigative company, on behalf of a class of 372 of its investigators. The settlement provided up to $1.7 million to settle claims for unpaid overtime and meal period violations, and $833,000 for attorney fees. The company had claimed that there were no meal period violations because the business realities of investigation work exempted it from providing meal breaks. Labor Code section 512 and the wage order provision contain no such exemption. Read the motion for preliminary court approval, which describes the background of the case and the details of the settlement.
Because the consequences of non-compliant practices can be so serious, employers should consider having an audit conducted of their wage and hour policies and practices. To set up an appointment to discuss the scope and cost of such an audit, send an email to [email protected]. For further information, you will find a GPH Lawyers blog entry about recent developments in the law related to meal periods here, and a set of tips on how to avoid wage and hour violations here.