Suppose an employee has complained to the U.S. Department of Labor about possible wage-and-hour or overtime violations in your workplace. Once you’ve been notified that an auditor is coming, get prepared by conducting your own audit.
DOL auditors have plenty of latitude to inspect records and interview employees, so make sure you’ve done everything possible to find and correct compliance problems, as well as gather documents to defend your decisions.
If faced with an audit, you should:
Review the differences between state and federal wage-and-hour laws to ensure you’re complying with the stricter of the two.
Reread the job descriptions of any positions that might be in question. Interview people in those jobs and their supervisors to ensure their job descriptions are accurate. Find out what the workers actually do, and check timekeeping records. Promptly correct any errors.
Interviewto find out how much time they spend on duties typically done by hourly employees. If it’s more than 20% (in retail, 40%), consider reclassifying the employee as nonexempt.
Check to see that employees are performing the job as assigned and working the hours designated by. If they’re not, insist they start doing so.
Check your overtime records. If you discover unpaid overtime, pay it immediately—even if the overtime wasn’t approved. Remind supervisors to pay scrupulous attention to who’s exempt and who’s not.
Review your policy manual with an experienced employment law attorney to make sure it’s complete and in line with the law.
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