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Don’t even think about ignoring DOL investigation, requests

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in Human Resources

A Michigan employer has learned a tough lesson: Ignore the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) at your peril.

Its employees won their lawsuit—even though they had no proof of wrongdoing—simply because the employer ignored the DOL’s request for records and failed to show up in court.

Recent case: The DOL began an investigation into the pay and overtime practices at an Oriental Forest Buffet restaurant in Michigan, apparently after employees complained they were not paid overtime or for all hours worked. The restaurant ignored the DOL, and it sued.

The court couldn’t get the restaurant’s attention either, so it gave the agency and the employees an automatic win. All that is left now is for the DOL to figure out how much the restaurant owes, plus sanctions. (Chao v. Oriental Forest Buffet, No. 1:07-CV-618, ED MI, 2009) 

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