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CLIENT ALERT: U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division Sets Enforcement Record

In advance of Halloween, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the results of its Wage and Hour Division's (WHD) recovery efforts for Fiscal Year 2019, and it reads like a horror story.

The good news to lull you into a feeling of safety was that the 18,844 Complaints Registered was the fewest amount over the past 22 years or published records.

Even more reassuring was that that total number of Concluded Cases was the fewest since 2009/10.

NOW FOR THE SCARE...

the total amount of Wages Recovered was $322M!  This amount overwhelmingly surpasses the $260M average of total wages recovered for the previous five (5) years.  These wage recoveries do not include any data from civil litigation.

WHAT WERE THE VIOLATIONS?

As usual, the vast majority of enforcement actions were Unpaid Overtime - approximately 83%.  This includes the typical errors in calculating overtime for employees as well as the Misclassification of Independent Contractors.  

WHAT INDUSTRIES WERE HIT THE HARDEST?

The biggest increase in wage violations hit the Construction Industry, which saw a greater than 25% increase in back wages recovery from the previous year.  A similar increase struck Health Care, which increased just under 25% from FY 2018.  The Food Services and Hotels and Motels industries both saw significant decreases in violations from previous years.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Frequent followers of these posts know we highlight that, each year, the annual budget of the Wage and Hour Division increases to allow more investigators and more enforcement action.  Emboldened with a record recovery, we can expect more and more investigations for years to come.  It means that Construction and Health Care employers need to take a close look at their wage and hour practices to ensure compliance.

For questions about your Wage and Hour practices, the recent changes to Overtime Exemption Thresholds, the Increase to Minimum Wage, or any other Labor + Employment questions, please contact any of our Team Members.  

Jeffrey C. Miller, Esq.

Labor + Employment Partner

BMD Cleveland | 200 Public Square | Suite 3270 | Cleveland, OH 44114

We are Working in a Virtual, Video-Conferencing World – But What About Wiretapping?

Businesses and other organizations often have a need or desire to record telephone conversations related to their business interests and customer dealings; however, this practice is not always permissible as federal and state laws vary on this issue. Knowing and understanding your jurisdiction’s rules and regulations on this practice is essential to remaining in compliance with the law.

President Trump Signs Executive Orders that Enable Access to Affordable Meds

On Friday, July 24, 2020, President Trump signed four Executive Orders concerning prescription drug pricing which collectively direct the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take following actions: 1. Increase Patient Access to Insulin and Injectable Epinephrine 2. Facilitate the Importation of Certain Prescription Drugs 3. Remove the Anti-Kickback Safe Harbor Protection for Prescription Rebates 4. Implement the “Most Favored Nation” Order to Lower Medicare Part B Drug Cost

Guidance for Employers Receiving HHS Funding During COVID-19 on Civil Rights Protections

On July 20, 2020, HHS OCR issued guidance to help employers receiving federal financial assistance understand their requirements to comply with applicable federal civil rights laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in HHS-funded programs during COVID-19; specifically, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VI”). Title VI states that “[n]o person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Ohio Businesses Required to Post Exceptions to State-wide Mask Mandate at all Entrances

On July 22, 2020, in conjunction with the state-wide mask mandate instituted by Governor Mike DeWine, Lance D. Himes, Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health, issued an order requiring Ohio businesses to post any permitted exceptions they provide to customers, patrons, visitors, contractors, vendors and similar individuals to use facial coverings at all business entrances.

ODM and OhioMHAS Continue to Expand Telehealth

On July 17, 2020, Governor DeWine signed Executive Order 2020-29D, which allowed the Ohio Department of Medicaid (“ODM”) to immediately rescind old provisions and file a new rule (5160-1-18) and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (“OhioMHAS”) to amend their current rule (5122-29-31), both expanding telehealth and introducing even more flexibility into Ohio’s healthcare system.